Former Macomb Township resident, World War II veteran enjoying life at 100

By: Alex Szwarc | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published September 23, 2021

 Raymond “Bud” Rose turned 100 last month. For nearly 75 years, the World War II veteran lived in Macomb Township at a home he built with his father.

Raymond “Bud” Rose turned 100 last month. For nearly 75 years, the World War II veteran lived in Macomb Township at a home he built with his father.

Photo by Alex Szwarc

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MACOMB TOWNSHIP — To this day, Raymond “Bud” Rose golfs and is even the cornhole champion at a local senior living community.

On Aug. 30, a 100th birthday celebration was held for Rose at Mae Stecker Park in Shelby Township. About 60 people attended the gathering for the World War II veteran.

“It’s big to turn 100,” he said. “I’m shooting for 106.”

Prior to moving to a senior community in Sterling Heights, Rose spent nearly 75 years in Macomb Township at a home he built with his father near 26 Mile Road and North Avenue.

Born in Hong Kong, China, to parents who were missionaries, Rose was one of seven children and the lone son.

Rose’s daughter, Sandy Behlke, said what’s amazing about her dad is that he’s always been an even-tempered guy.

“He’s always willing to stop everything to help somebody that needs help,” she said.

Behlke shared that if ladies in the neighborhood needed help, her father would help take them to hair or doctor appointments.

Rose spent about 10 years in Canada prior to settling in Detroit, residing on Trumbull Avenue. He lived five blocks from Tiger Stadium, the former home of the Detroit Tigers.

Rose’s wife, Mary, died in 2016 at the age of 92. The two married in 1943, amid World War II. After marrying, Rose was drafted into the Army, serving in 1944 and 1945.

As a machine gunner of the 28th Infantry Division, Company L, Rose landed at Omaha Beach in Normandy, France, in July 1944.

During the war, Rose spent time in England, France, Belgium and Germany.

“I was fighting every day,” he said. “In training, I was good at everything I did because I was a hunter and ambitious.”  

As a frontline soldier, Rose said the morale of the men in his unit was low at first but increased as the war progressed.

“You did what you could to stay alive,” he said. “They dumped us off, and we went to fight.”

From his time in France, Rose recalls plenty of hedgerow fighting.

“Dirt was piled about six feet high with trees on it,” he said. “Farmers used it to separate their land, and the enemy would lie there, waiting for you. We had four fighter airplanes assigned to our outfit and would call in to strafe the enemy.”  

A few months into his time fighting in Europe, Rose was injured.

On Nov. 5, 1944, he was wounded in Schmitt, Germany. That injury resulted in him spending over a year in the hospital.

“I was blown away with a mortar,” Rose said.

As Rose tells the story, he was operating a machine gun from a hole in the ground.

“They dropped a mortar in there,” he said, making the sound of an explosion. “It took a big hunk through my chest. It went in next to the heart.”

An artillery observer was in the hole with Rose at the time of the explosion. That soldier was uninjured.  

At a field hospital, one of the first procedures done on Rose included removing metal   with a magnetic wire.

Eventually, Rose made his way to a hospital in Spokane, Washington.

For his service in World War II, Rose was awarded a pair of Purple Hearts.

Rose received a signed letter from U.S. President Harry Truman in 1945, something that he calls a big honor.

In the letter, Truman extends a heartfelt thanks of a grateful nation to Rose for “undertaking the most severe task one can be called upon to perform.”

Looking at life now, the 100-year-old said he hasn’t had any major health issues.

“The younger people today drink and smoke,” he said. “I quit smoking in 1960 and wasn’t a drinker. I was always an athlete and kept my life going.”

Rose’s granddaughter, Jill Storrison, said she’s amazed at how much her grandpa knows.

“Young kids today aren’t going to know the things he went through,” she said. “He has remarkable stories, and it’s amazing to hear them. He continues to amaze us every day.”

For nearly 35 years, Rose worked for Alexander & Hornung Sausage in Detroit. He retired in the early 1980s.

He has one child, three grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren.

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