Dick Rose was born in Chicago, IL. August 16, 1931. He attended school in Chicago through the tenth grade before moving to Los Angeles, Cal., in 1947. He finished high school in 1949 and graduated from Los Angeles City College June 14, 1951, one day before entering the Navy.
Though he had tried to enlist in the Army in August 1950, at the outbreak of the Korean War, he was classified as 4-F. By June 1951, as the Korean War entered its sixth month of stalemate, he was re-classified 1-A. His patriotic ardor somewhat dimmed, he opted for Naval Service.
He entered naval service as a radioman and was assigned to the USS Pollux, a supply ship home ported in Yokosuka, Japan in March 1952. A year later, he found out about the recently formed Journalist rating. He applied for the Class A Journalism School and was selected to attend. Following graduation in September 1953, he found himself back in Yokosuka, on the staff of Commander Naval Forces, Far East in the History & Awards section, preparing a month-to-month history of the Navy’s participation in Korea.
He left the Navy in May 1955, attended UCLA, and married Barbara Feder. Bored with the study of 17 century English writers, he re-entered the Navy in February, 1956. He was assigned to the News Department of Armed Forces Radio, Taiwan, in Taipei. He was the news director, newscaster three times a day, and hosted a couple of musical shows.
In November 1956, his daughter, Debbi, was born in Taipei.
Successive tours of duty from 1959-1965 found him advancing in rate, serving in Seattle, Washington; Hollywood, California; and Pt. Mugu, California.
In 1965, he returned to Japan and Armed Forces Radio to head the news bureau at Far East Network, Tokyo. A promotion to Senior Chief Petty Officer brought a sooner-than expected transfer to Saigon, Vietnam, on the staff of Commander US Naval Forces, Vietnam.
In Vietnam, he was the senior enlisted man and officer supervisor for a 12-man contingent of navy journalists and photographers. He supervised their assignments to Navy detachments throughout the country, primarily in the Mekong Delta, south of Saigon. During his one-year tour, he participated in fourteen combat missions on attack helicopters, river patrol boats, and with the U.S. Marine Corps-trained Vietnamese commandos, service which earned him the Navy Commendation Medal with combat “V.”
It was during this service, as he personally observed the progress of the war, attended press briefings for news media correspondents, read situation and action reports, read the English language version of Saigon newspapers, and listened to his fellow servicemen of all four services, that his disillusion began.
He finished his Navy career in Coronado, California, on the staff of Commander Amphibious Force, US Pacific Fleet. Further contact with returning servicemen as well as conscientious objectors who were assigned to the commander’s staff while awaiting their processing out, sharpened his concern over the war. After 3/12 years of absence, his return to the United States in October, 1968 had introduced him to the increasing opposition to war.
Following his retirement as a Master Chief Journalist in 1971, he entered San Diego State University, earning a BA with honors in English in 1972, and an MA in 1975. While in school, he realized that he had to tell his story, his view as a participant, and as a disillusioned career navyman.
The story became his Master’s Thesis, Moveable Forts and Magazines, re-published as Tarnished Brass Curtain: A Novel of Vietnam, about the Vietnam experience. In it, he was able to dramatize the contradictions and doubts faced by a dedicated and loyal Navyman. It also allowed him to explore alienation, the outsider status he had always felt as a Jewish second generation American in a WASP-oriented society. The book was a finalist in the 2011 National Independent Press Excellence Awards in the military fiction category.
In 1997, he and Barbara retired from the IRS. They moved to Las Vegas, Nevada in January, 2000, where he continued to write, tend his rose bushes and koi pond waterfall, and prepare occasional tax returns.
Though he had many news stories and feature articles published in military and civilian newspapers and magazines, and wrote an award-winning radio drama in 1966 saluting the Hungarian Freedom Fighter, he remains focused on Vietnam. He was active in Vietnam Veterans of America, where he served in various chapter offices, and edited a newsletter, Frontlines. He was also a contributing editor to the VVA California State newspaper, The California Zephyr.
Throughout his post-Navy career, he wrote humorous newspaper columns for various VA and community newspapers, under the title Through Rose-colored Glasses.
In November, 2012, he published a collection of articles, stories and poems about Vietnam, written while there, and afterward, entitled “Vietnam: Through Rose-colored Glasses” This book won Honorable Mention in the 2012-2013 Los Angeles Book Festival in the mixed-media category and a Bronze Medal in the Current Events military category of the Independent Press (IPPY) 2013 contest. His latest book, a collection of short stories, “Did You Ever Try to Melt a Lemon Drop?” won the 2012 MANA 1st Prize Sunrise Writers Contest and is expected to be published by MANA in June, 2013. Barbara died in 2007, and Dick and his daughter, Debbi, now live in Henderson, Nevada.