In words of Army Rangers, here’s why Col. Ralph Puckett was awarded the Medal of Honor

Ralph Puckett

 

Ret. Col. Puckett Montage

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — When President Joe Biden presented retired Army Col. Ralph Puckett with the Medal of Honor, the colonel’s actions on November 25th and 26th, 1950 were read into the record.

Puckett and the Eighth Army Ranger Company fought a Chinese force on Hill 205 in Korea, just 60 miles from the Chinese border.

That fight and there actions earned Puckett the Medal of Honor, which was awarded 25,745 days after the battle.

John Lock, a retired Army lieutenant colonel, assembled this account of the day and it has become the wording for the Medal of Honor citation.

Here’s what Col. Puckett and his Ranger did that cold November night as recounted by Army Rangers who all know and respect the colonel. And here’s why President Biden awarded him the Medal of Honor.

John Lock/Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army (Retired), Army Ranger 

First Lieutenant Ralph Puckett, United States Army, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty on 25-26 November 1950 while serving as Commander, Eighth Army Ranger Company, Task Force Dolvin, North Korea. 

Carmen Cavezza/Lieutenant General, U.S. Army (Retired), Army Ranger 

As the Rangers commenced the daylight attack of Hill 205, the enemy directed mortar, machinegun and small arms fire against the advancing force. 

Jimmy Hathaway/Colonel, U.S. Army, Army Ranger 

To obtain supporting fire, LT Puckett mounted the closest tank exposing himself to the deadly enemy fire. 

Max Mullin/Master Sergeant, U.S. Army (Retired), Army Ranger 

Leaping from the tank, he yelled, “Let’s go!” and began to lead his Rangers in the attack. 

David Fivecoat/Colonel, U.S. Army (Retired), Army Ranger 

Almost immediately, enemy machinegun fire threatened the success of the attack by pinning down one platoon. 

Stanley McChrystal/General, U.S. Army (Retired), Army Ranger 

Leaving the safety of his position with full knowledge of the danger, LT Puckett intentionally ran across an open area three times to draw enemy fire thereby allowing his Rangers to locate and destroy the enemy machinegun and enabling the company to seize Hill 205. 

Kristen Griest/Captain, U.S. Army, Army Ranger 

Later that night, the enemy counter-attacked in the near zero weather. 

Greg Camp/ Colonel, U.S. Army (Retired), Army Ranger

During the next four hours the 57-man company, inspired and motivated by the extraordinary leadership and courageous example exhibited by Lieutenant Puckett, repulsed five human wave attacks by a 500-man battalion assaulting behind intense mortar barrages.

Peter Jones/Brigadier General, U.S. Army (Retired), Army Ranger

Continually directing ‘danger-close’ artillery support that decimated attacking enemy formations, repeatedly abandoning positions of relative safety to make his way from foxhole to foxhole to check the perimeter, interceding at each point of decision in the battle, redistributing ammunition and keeping only one eight-round clip for his own rifle, LT Puckett’s encouragement and dauntless will instilled in his men an unfailing desire and perseverance to resist.

Joseph Votel/General, U.S. Army (Retired), Army Ranger

Although wounded in the thigh by a grenade fragment during the first assault, LT Puckett refused evacuation. During the course of battle, LT Puckett once again intentionally exposed himself three more times to an enemy sniper before the sniper was killed.

Jeffery Struecker/Major, U.S. Army (Retired), Army Ranger

Unable to obtain artillery support to repel the sixth enemy assault, LT Puckett and his command were overrun by the fanatical enemy.

Mike Hall/Command Sergeant Major, U.S. Army (Retired), Army Ranger

Two mortar rounds detonated in LT Puckett’s foxhole inflicting severe wounds to his feet, buttocks, and left arm.

Merle Simpson/U.S. Eighth Army Ranger Company (Hill 205), Army Ranger

Though the wounds to his right foot were so severe the doctors considered amputation for several months, LT Puckett maintained the presence of mind to report that his command was being overrun by the enemy.

Matt Walker/Command Sergeant Major, U.S. Army (Retired), Army Ranger

Grievously wounded and unable to move on his own, LT Puckett ordered his men to leave him behind. Later two of his Rangers fought their way to his position killing three enemy who were only 10 yards from where LT Puckett lay defenseless.

Jeffrey Mellinger/Command Sergeant Major, U.S. Army (Retired), Army Ranger

Although LT Puckett ordered his Rangers to leave him behind, they refused. Later as the enemy fired at the rescuers LT Puckett again ordered his men to leave him to ensure their safety.

Robert Choppa/Colonel, U.S. Army (Retired), Army Ranger

Finally secure at the bottom of Hill 205 and despite the seriousness and pain of his wounds, LT Puckett maintained the presence of mind to direct a heavy concentration of artillery fire on the enemy now on top of the hill.

Austin Scott Miller/General, U.S. Army, Army Ranger

LT Puckett’s extraordinary courage and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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