Michael Rose


As Interviewed by Audrey Rose, March 15, 2018

Michael Rose: In His Own Words

When I was five I wanted to go to the naval academy. All along I’ve wanted to be a marine. The marines are part of a naval service, and I really went to the academy wanting to graduate and be in the marines. We have a saying in the marine court,‘ We’re not black, or white, or brown, we’re all green.’ Which is the color of the marine court uniform. Every day I would have training flight. I flew the F4 phantom, and we had to train, so every day I would do some office work in the squadron, but also I would fly.

Japan, The Philippines, Okinawa, that’s mostly were I was outside the United States. In the United States I’ve been in: Kingsville, Texas; Beaufort, South Carolina; Cherry point, North Carolina; Pensacola, Florida. I was based outside of, right outside of Los Angeles, California. I was on active duty for four years of the naval academy, and then a little over ten years in the marine course, on active duty a little over fourteen years. And then I was in the reserves for another ten. Where did I go to school to learn about the military? The naval academy, in Annapolis Maryland.

The F4 phantom, it’s a fighter aircraft. It’s hard to describe, there’s a poem called “High Flight”, that pretty much describes what it was like. Going through flight training was really hard work. It was a lot of work, and then once I got my wings and was flying in the fleet, it was just a very dangerous profession. Even at these times, even when you weren’t at war. It was a very dangerous profession. So you had to really work hard to pay attention, and avoid problems.

They allowed woman in the academy a couple years after I graduated.

Have you ever lost an engine flying a plane? Yes. When it happens, you’re really busy. And you’re going through checklist, you’re talking to the control center on the radio. You’re making plans about how you’re gonna land the aircraft, and where you’re gonna land the aircraft. It’s very very busy, and challenging, but the training that I had kicked in and it worked out just fine. And we got it on the ground, but it was really really a busy few minutes.

Marines are marines. When I was in, and I’m sure it is still the same today, everybody’s life depends on the person next to them. And you don’t worry about skin color, or race, or gender, or anything else. You just do your job and you try to protect everyone around you, and they do the same for you.

I lived in a really small town. There was only 1600 people in Clinton, where I grew up. And it was kind of a culture-shock, because when I went to the naval academy from Clinton, the naval academy just the college alone had three times as many people in it as my hometown. So, little bit of culture-shock but other than that it was no big deal.