Ninety-five-year-old Retired Army Col. Ralph Puckett Jr.is every bit as inspiring today as he was the day he led 57 fellow Rangers into combat in Korea, 1950. Receiving the highest military honor for valor in action, the Medal of Honor, Puckett is one of only 3,508 men to be honored with the courageous title. The colonel never stopped, leadinghis infantrymen through frozen rice paddies, crisscrossing through open fields, ultimatelyseizing the base of Hill 205,and securing the top through heavy enemy fire.
As his fellow comrades have said, Puckett went above and beyondagain and againto save pinned Infantrymen and avert assault for his team, running across open space to deflect counterattacks. They lost men. They lost radio. They lost land. But they never lost faith. Outnumbered 10 to 1, the men fought through the day atop Hill 205. And through the next despairing night, Colonel Puckett galvanized his company of mentofight, defend and ultimately further US freedom.
Suffering from gunfire wounds to his arms, Puckett refused to evacuate. Ammunition ran low, casualties piled high and as the enemy drew closer, his men fought through the final counterattack. During which the Colonel’s right thigh was severely woundedfrom a grenade. Unable to walk, he ordered his Rangers to leave him behind;though they disobeyed and dragged him to safety.
“He feared no man, he feared no situation and he feared no enemy. Clearly a unique, courageous Soldier in combat and even more importantly, in my opinion, Col. Puckett was an ultimate Infantry leader.” said Retired General Jay Hendrix.
Colonel Puckett’s service has been recognized with the Distinguished Service Cross, two Silver Stars, three Legions of Merit, two Bronze Stars, a Commendation Medal, ten Air Medals, five Purple Hearts and as of May 2021, the Medal of Honor. He retired from the Army in 1971 and is to receive induction to the Hall of Heroes this year.
Read More on Colonel Ralph Puckett Jr and his official citation here.