COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — The local military, business and civic community came together Friday night to honor the most recent recipient of the Medal of Honor at a National Infantry Museum event.

Retired Army Columbus resident Col. Ralph Puckett received the nation’s highest military honor four weeks ago at the White House from President Joe Biden.

The keynote speaker at an event that drew more than 500 people from across the nation was Gen. Richard D. Clark – the commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command.

Clark’s relationship with Col. Puckett and his wife, Jeannie, goes back to the 1990s. his days as a captain, assigned to the 75th Ranger Regiment and living in Lakebottom.

Clark says that the Medal of Honor seals Col. Puckett’s place in military history as one of the most decorated soldiers in the U.S. Army.

“And it’s absolutely true,” Clark said. “With the Medal of Honor, two Distinguished Service Crosses, five Purple Hearts, and Silver Stars. Col. Ralph Puckett will go down in history as one of our most decorated leaders. But more importantly, he is one of the finest leaders and men that you could ever meet in an entire lifetime.”

Former Manuever Center of Excellence commander and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, now a professor at Stanford Uniiversity, was one of those there to honor Col. Puckett Friday night.

“Our Army, our military is a living historical community,” McMaster told News 3. “And Ralph Puckett is part of that history. He is part of that history because he distinguished himself under the most difficult conditions of combat. And he personified what we call the Warrior Ethos. That is the willingness to sacrifice for others. That ethos is based on principles like honor and courage. And Ralph embodies all of that.”