When 18-year-old Chris Collington was turned down by the British Army on medical grounds, he expected support from family and friends.
But he never expected words of encouragement - and a special gift of a green beret worn in Vietnam - from a Special Forces Green Beret and US Medal of Honour recipient.
Captain Mike Rose received his medal from President Donald Trump only recently for his role as medic in a covert incursion during Operation Tailwind in the Vietnam War.
Chris’s mother happened to relate her son’s plight to a Special Forces Association member, Adrian Law, who lives in Pannal, near Harrogate, who then told his friend Mike in the USA.
Chris, of Lovell Park View, Leeds, said: “To get such a gift and the encouraging words from Captain Mike just blew me away.
“I suffer from hyperhidrosis - sweating palms - and although I keep it under control with tablets, it seems it meant I didn’t pass the test this time around.”
“Captain Mike told me not to give up trying and what better endorsement could I receive than from a US Army veteran and legend. I can’t thank him and his associates enough.”
Capt Rose, from Huntsville, Alabama, earned his plaudits – the highest US military honour – after treating and leading the evacuation of US troops in Laos. He was part of a covert operation in the country called Hatchet Force, designed as a strike at the North Vietnamese Army.
During the campaign, on numerous occasions he charged through enemy fire and single-handedly treated 50 men to ensure their survival. The Hatchet Force men were eventually evacuated by helicopter, while still under heavy fire.
Speaking from America, Capt Rose said: “I was proud to serve my country as part of the US military and especially to be honoured for such, though my thoughts are always first and foremost with the men who served with me. I heard about Chris’s difficulties and thought this would be a great boost to his continued hopes of entering the military. Good luck to you Chris from the United States.”
CAPTAIN Rose was given the Medal of Honour by President Donald Trump at a ceremony at the White House in October last year.
During which, President Trump told him: “Your will to endure, your love for your fellow Soldier, your devotion to your country inspires us all. I have to tell you, that is something. Nations are formed out of the strength and patriotism that lives in the hearts of our heroes.”