Rossman is a soldier’s soldier, a Ranger and the epitome of what each means. I don’t know Rossman personally, though our paths crossed on numerous occasions, the last of which was as we both PCS’d from Haiti in mid to late November, 1994. But after interviewing his soldiers, I can say I know what’s important to know about Rossman from a soldier’s perspective.
Combat is chaos, which is why having someone like Rossman at your side in combat is the key to survival. While Ranger School seeks to simulate combat and mold combat leaders, you really can’t say who is or who is not calm, collective and decisive in combat until they’ve been there. Rossman has been tested, and he is all of the aforementioned. I’ve encountered no one that served along side him in combat that says anything but the best about him as a leader and a soldier. They all say they would follow him to hell again.
On September 25th, 1993, Rossman and his men were thrust into the forefront an extremely bad situation on the streets of Mogadishu after a Black Hawk was shot down at around 0200 HRS (2 AM). Sent to rescue to the pilots and recover the deceased crew, he and his men found themselves as the main force securing the crash site when they were originally supposed to be rear security. Adapt and improvise 101.
Now responsible for securing a site best secured by a full platoon, rather than panic, Rossman organized his men in a defensive perimeter to secure the site. Almost immediately, they found themselves in a five hour firefight, the fight of their lives. Carrying only a minimal combat load, it fell to Rossman to secure more ammunition for his men as he ran between the fire teams to coordinate defense of the site.
When Poncho was hit, it was the quick reaction of Rossman that saved his soldier’s life, applying first aid to his grievous wound as blood literally shot over their heads out of Poncho’s wound, as Long exposed himself to a hail of enemy fire to retrieve a medic. I will forever be grateful to Rossman for this fact alone; because of him, my brother Poncho is alive. Rossman then manned the M-60 after his gunner Arch was hit and Boult had pulled Arch to safety.
“He was like Superman that day, that’s all I can say about him. Jumping to the top of that hummer and manning the machine gun after Arch got hit…..He was a great leader and someone I would follow anywhere.” ~ Member of Rossman’s Squad that day.
Rossman’s service in Somalia climaxed with the events of October 3rd and 4th as C CO, along with elements of TF 2-14, rescued the members of TF Ranger. Because Hollywood decided to eliminate this part of the story, it’s the only focus placed on the Battle of Mogadishu in “Behind the Gun”, a chapter called “Honoring the Creed”, something these men did more than once in Somalia.
After Air Assaulting into Haiti from the deck of the U.S.S. Eisenhower in September 1994 during Operation Uphold Democracy, along with myself and the rest of 1st Brigade, Rossman then went on to Fort Polk and then Korea where he was promoted to Sergeant First Class and made a platoon sergeant for 1/503rd. After Korea, Rossman went on to serve as the S3 NCOIC and then an Airborne Infantry Platoon Sergeant in Italy where he did a jump into Kosovo and then served in Bosnia. He then attended and passed the Battle Staff and Jump Master courses and earned his EIB to go along with his Combat Infantryman’s Badge.
On 1 October 1999 approximately 130 soldiers from Company A, 1st Battalion, 508th Airborne Battalion Combat Team, jumped from several C-130 Hercules aircraft about one mile outside of Vitina. The joint effort between the Army and Air Force proved the unparalleled capabilities of US forces. Company A, 1-508th soldiers accomplished their mission by deploying within approximately 24 hours notice during Operation Rapid Guardian, an Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercise. The EDRE also showed that US forces were able to rapidly deploy into a war-torn province at a minute’s notice. The jump made history by being the first of its kind since World War II, which was the last time US forces parachuted into a European country during a major conflict or peacekeeping operation.
In what should have been the twilight of his career, after 9-11 he found himself travelling the country for the next two years training soldiers as the OC/T for the National Guard and Army Reserve (AC/RC Program). He retired from active duty in 2005.
His service didn’t end there. He then went into the world of military contracting, as many of our brothers had done post 9-11. While in Kabul Afghanistan, he was assigned to the Ambassador’s Protective Detail, responsible for the security of VIP’s like Secretary of State Rice as well as other politicians and VIP’s.
In Baghdad as a contractor with Blackwater, his primary mission was QRF, Principal Recovery and Extraction, and anything else needed by US Forces outside the Green Zone. He spent 3 years in Iraq before moving into yet another important aspect of the War on Terror, equipment improvement.
Working for The Reger Group, Rossman traveled to Afghanistan and interviewed the soldiers as they came off patrol to determine if there were any equipment failures or if any piece of equipment could have made them more effective. Outside of being a light infantry squad leader, Rossman enjoyed this job the best.
While doing all of the above, Rossman managed to get an associates degree, a bachelor’s degree and finally an MBA. Today he is a Program Manager with the Raven’s group, which is responsible for monitoring several contracts with the VA.
It is my sincere hope that the world will learn the whole story about America’s involvement in the Somali Civil War and about the heroes like Rossman that Hollywood saw fit to leave behind, while men like Rossman left no man behind.
Come read about Rossman and his amazing soldiers in “Behind the Gun”!
Copyright© Bravo Charles & Behind the Gun 2016
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