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Perry Thomas Rose

West Virginia
Veterans Memorial


Perry Thomas Rose

"He was so patriotic and loved the USA."

Eris Rose, mother

Perry Thomas Rose was born on September 16, 1943, son of Perry Spencer and Eris Thomas Rose. The family included a daughter, Jane.

Tom, as the younger Perry was called, attended Charleston High School and graduated in 1961. He was offered an ROTC Scholarship to Columbia but instead accepted an appointment to the United States Air Force Academy. He received a degree in engineering management in 1965 and entered active military service.
Rose, Slack, and Lilly
Cadet Perry T. Rose with Rep. John Slack (WV) and Cadet Relva L. Lilly, March 1962
Ph2007-059, WV State Archives

Tom Rose receiving medal
Tom Rose receiving medal

Distinguished Flying Cross
Distinguished Flying Cross certificate

During his tour of duty in Vietnam, Tom flew more than 190 combat missions. In 1970 he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for "extraordinary achievement" as a forward air controller in an action that took place near Phan Thiet, Vietnam, in June 1969. He flew his plane at a low altitude through intense hostile fire while directing tactical air power on enemy forces who had ambushed a friendly convoy. The award was presented to him during ceremonies at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.

After his return to the states, Tom assisted with zero gravity training tests in preparation for the Apollo 14 mission of January 1971 by astronauts Alan Shepard Jr., Stuart Roosa and Edgar D. Mitchell.
Rose with Shepherd, Roosa, and Mitchell
Tom Rose (right) with Alan
Shephard, Stuart Roosa, Edgar Mitchell, and others

Rose letter
Tom Rose's letter to his grandmother a few days before his death
On June 12, 1971, Capt. Rose was aboard a C135 on a flight from Pago Pago, American Samoa, to Hawaii, that was engaged in a surveillance mission. It was assumed it was in the South Pacific to monitor French nuclear tests. During the 2,227 mile flight, the plane disappeared on its return flight to Hickham Air Force Base and crashed. A search was launched but was abandoned after 4 1/2 days with those on board presumed dead.

Perry Thomas Rose was survived by his parents and a wife, Katherine.


West Virginia Archives and History welcomes any additional information that can be provided about these veterans, including photographs, family names, letters and other relevant personal history.

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