Dick Rose was born in Chicago in 1931, the son of immigrants from Hungary. He attended school in Chicago before moving to California, in 1947. He graduated from Los Angeles City College June 14, 1951, one day before entering the Navy.
His Navy career took him around the Pacific Rim: Japan: Taiwan, Vietnam; Seattle, Washington; and Pt. Mugu, Hollywood, and Coronado, California. His service included Public Affairs Offices on various admirals’ staffs and two tours of duty with Armed Forces Radio—Taiwan and Tokyo.
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.
While attending San Diego State University, he turned his need to express his feelings about the Vietnam Conflict into his Masters Thesis, Moveable Forts and Magazines, a novel 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 an alienation, the outsider status he had always felt as a Jewish second-generation American in a WASP-oriented society.