OTF Soldier Story for December 15, 2008 - Capt. Janet Rose
Current Unit: 5501st U.S. Army Hospital (San Antonio, Texas)
Current Position: Officer in Charge, Hospital In-processing
Component: Army Reserve
Current Location: Abilene, Texas
Hometown: Abilene, Texas
Years of Service: 4
Capt. Janet Rose has always felt a call to serve her country. But as three children and a successful nursing career took center stage in her life, she set aside thoughts of a military career and focused on raising her family. After 20 years in the medical field, the feeling that she had more to offer was still there. In 2004, when the Army was in dire need of qualified nurses and doctors to join its ranks, Rose was able to fulfill her dream and answered the call to serve. She was 48 when she joined the Army Reserve, ironically following her son (also Capt. Rose) into a military career.
Rose firmly believes that everything in life happens for a reason. The 20 years she spent as a nurse made her a valuable resource at a time when the Army needed her most. In 2006 when she was branch transferred from nursing to a Civil Affairs unit, she moved forward with the belief that she would be working in the capacity she was most needed. In April 2007, Rose deployed to Diyala Province, Iraq, one of the more dangerous areas of the country, and began contributing to efforts to rebuild local community infrastructures.
In Iraq, many of her missions were directly tied to her civilian and Army medical experience. She helped establish a supply line to provide much-needed medicine to nine hospitals throughout the province and worked with local government officials to encourage Iraqi doctors and nurses to return to their jobs. In the high-tempo combat environment, she was also called on to care for wounded U.S. Soldiers.
Rose says she was heartened by the results achieved through her work over the course of the 12-month deployment. Her team's efforts made it possible for a hospital in Baqubah to regain enough function to perform upwards of 40 surgeries per week including care for the wounded in mass casualty situations. Rose also affected change in the community by helping to establish a Women's Center which now provides job training and other educational opportunities to local women. Her commitment to improving quality of life in Diyala Province did not go unnoticed and she was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for her extraordinary contributions.
Through not part of any technical job description, Rose often found herself through the course of her work providing emotional support to Soldiers dealing with homesickness and other stresses that come with long months in a combat zone. She was also able to be there for her own son, Capt. James Rose, who was commanding a Marine Reconnaissance Company in Iraq at the same time his mother was in theater. When they were able to coordinate a few days off together, she hitched a helicopter ride to his base in Fallujah, where they were content to watch movies, catch up on sleep and enjoy each other's company for a short while. Her nephew, a Blackhawk helicopter pilot for the Army, was also in Iraq during 2007.
This December, Rose is glad to report that both her son and nephew are home safely and will join her and other family to celebrate the holiday together. She is planning a Texas-style Christmas with a hayride and bonfire on her ranch, where she will get everyone involved in singing and storytelling, including her husband and their two other children, Will and Rachel.
Rose continues to serve with the Army Reserve Medical Command and lives in Abilene, Texas. She commutes on a regular basis to work at the 5501st U.S. Army Hospital in San Antonio, Texas.