It’s been a little over a week since we learned that U.S. military forces finally tracked down Osama Bin Laden and killed him in his fortress in Pakistan. While the news brought some closure to millions of Americans, one in particular was left to reflect. PawSox strength and conditioning coach, Mike Roose is a Rhode Island native and a veteran of four years in the United States Air Force. Roose served in both Iraq and Afghanistan with a counter-terrorism unit. In fact, he was there shortly after the capture of Saddam Hussein and saw him imprisoned, first hand. After some thought, Mike shared his feelings. “It’s a very satisfying day for anyone that’s served after 9/11, at that time or guys who are serving now. It’s absolutely satisfying to know what we did and what those guys are still doing over there, didn’t go for nothing. It wasn’t wasted.” Roose quickly added that the job is far from done. “We did only get one guy. We have to remember that. There’s still a lot more work to do. It helps out. If anything, it lets the terrorists and the rest of the guys plotting against us know, that no matter what, we are going to track them down eventually. If they know what’s good for them, they’ll think twice before trying anything, because we’re going to get you eventually.”
Mike Roose knows from personal experience what the capture and killing of Bin Laden must have been like. “It must have been exciting. Honestly, I know the mentality of the soldiers that are over there. It’s exciting because of the name of Bin Laden, but that’s what they are trained for. That’s what they do. They’ve been training for that and dreaming of that, so good for them.”
Roose thinks that although the head of the monster has been cut off, the beast lives. He applauds the U.S. Navy Seals that were credited for the kill. He adds that they all share in the glory, anonymously. “I’m pretty sure that those guys don’t have identities now. You’ll never find out who it was that pulled the trigger and it’s not important because it’s a victory for the whole United States Military. Within the unit, not just one guy is getting a pat on the back, everybody did their part to make that happen.”
When asked if he needed photographic evidence that Bin Laden was actually dead, especially after his swift burial at sea, Roose answered with conviction. “No, we don’t need photographic evidence. If anything it shows the character of our country. What we were doing was trying to respect the Muslim religious traditions and culture. That’s my impression of what they were trying to do. We didn’t want to start another Holy War. If President Obama says that we got him, we got him. He’s not going to make that announcement unless he’s 100% sure the job was done. We need to trust the President and what he says.”
Roose was so incensed by the events of September 11, 2001 that he enlisted. Volunteered. Put his money where his mouth was. Now, in 2011, he is still trying to make a difference, helping veterans returning to the United States, who are dealing with depression and post-traumatic stress syndrome. “I hope to give these guys an outlet so they know there’s hope in their life afterwards. I’ve had friends that have gone through some hard times and are still going through hard times. There are a lot of suicides going on because their mental state isn’t right. They’re sick and they need help. If I can help in any little way, get veterans together to form some sort of social network, so they have someone to reach out to…as a strength and conditioning coach, I’d like to do something to help with their physical fitness to help relieve stress and depression. There are a lot of negative side effects that you can’t see. You can’t tell just by looking at someone. They might not even know they need help. A lot of times, it’s something as simple as just talking, venting some of the emotions that these guys hold in. Anyone who has seen combat duty, I don’t care what war, there are invisible side effects. Hopefully, I can have an impact that can help somebody lead a better life.”
Mike Roose has gotten involved with the “Home Base Program”. It’s associated with the Red Sox Foundation as well as Massachusetts General Hospital. There are events to raise awareness including a road race on May 22 that includes a lap around Fenway Park. It’s all publicly funded. “Since the Home Base Program has contacted me, I’ve approached the front office here in Pawtucket for help for the veterans. We all know that here at McCoy, it’s one of the most patriotic places anywhere. With the troops, firemen and women and the police always being honored on the field…God Bless America during the seventh inning, all that stuff. The PawSox management jumped at the chance to help. They said that whatever I needed to help make this happen, they were more than willing to help.”
Roose adds that he is thrilled to help make a difference. “I’m excited. You never know what might help change somebodys’ outlook on life. It’s great.” Roose says that there are lots of websites on the internet thatare helpful, but the one he encourages everyone to check out is runtohomebase.com
Mike Roose is what’s good about the United States of America.