Our Honorees

Rose Mattie served in the Arizona National Guard for 17 years. During this time, she held many positions, pursued all opportunities, and always challenged herself to be “magnificently fearless.”  

In 2011, Rose responded to a call to action for female soldiers to work with the Army’s elite Special Forces. She attended a Selection and Assessment program at Ft. Bragg’s Elite Special Warfare Center and School (SWCS). This was the first time the Army had held a female-only selection and assessment process. Elite female soldiers from all over the country were tested, and Rose was one of the few selected. After training, Rose was paired with a “battle sister” and deployed with the Green Berets within an Operational Detachment Alpha team (ODA), where she lived in a village in Afghanistan. While on this tour, she was also called to support the Navy SEALs on missions. The stories these “battle sisters” are documented in the book Ashley's War.  The success of this program is what led the military to support women serving in combat. Rose was awarded several awards for this deployment, including the Combat Action Badge. 

Prior to her elite mission, Rose had deployed to Iraq twice, as an Engineer Mechanic and Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear Specialist. After her deployment to Afghanistan, she became a Blackhawk Helicopter Pilot, and flew for the Arizona Army National Guard until 2018.

During her military career, Rose had many opportunities: attending the Jordanian Peace Operations Course in Amman; being handpicked for an information exchange program in Kenya, Africa; and participating in the Arizona National Guard’s Marathon team, Biathlon team and Shooting team. 

Always striving, Rose obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and is pursuing her Master's in International Relations. She is a professional actress and a member of the Screen Actors Guild. She is a certified Rescue Scuba Diver, volunteers with the National Brain Tumor Society, and as a speaker for Veterans Heritage Project since 2016, shares her service story through school visits and community presentations. 

As one of the original students in Veterans Heritage Project at Cactus Shadows High School, Mark McCullough participated in the program from 2005 to 2008. He interviewed six veterans and, as lead student editor, was instrumental in the design and publication of three volumes of Since You Asked. In his words, his veterans helped him grow from a boy to a young man, teaching him about determination, integrity, and selflessness. 

Inspired by his experience in VHP and the words of the late Major General (Ret.) Carl Schneider to “seize opportunities,” Mark earned a Master’s in Teaching and has taught history for 12 years, bringing veterans into his classroom to share the stories, morals, and lessons that were once impressed upon him. Mark still teaches U.S. History to 8th Graders but has transitioned more into educational administration and leadership, and now serves as the Director of Enrollment Management and Marketing at St. Luke’s Episcopal School in San Antonio, TX. 

Mark and his wife Sarita, and daughter Tatum, live in the Hill Country of San Antonio and enjoy cooking, reading, and participating in community service at San Antonio Animal Welfare and the Salvation Army Food Bank.