Honor Delayed is Better than Honor Denied. Retired Ranger Col. Ralph Puckett, 94, to Receive Medal of Honor
It’s been almost 68 years since an armistice ended a war that claimed approximately 3 million military casualties and even more civilian casualties.
The Korean War is seldom mentioned today. It is arguably one of the most invisible moments in military history, in terms of media attention, Hollywood spotlights, and civilian conversation. So it is especially powerful that a Medal Of Honor is about to be bestowed upon a veteran of this war.
Retired Ranger Colonel Ralph Puckett was a young lieutenant when he repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire in order to protect the men who refused to retreat. He was wounded three times in that battle. He watched death approach him as he lay unable to move and Chinese soldiers shot or bayoneted other wounded Americans, steadily making their way to his foxhole.
Two courageous privates shot the Chinese soldiers moments before they reached Puckett. They then then carried Puckett to safety and life-saving medical care.
Puckett then went on to serve in the Vietnam War before retiring in 1971 as a highly decorated Colonel. During his time there, he was awarded a second Distinguished Service Cross, two Silvers Stars, and three Legion of Merit decorations. Soon, those Honors will be enhanced with the Medal of Honor.
Puckett, now 94 years old, learned of this decision when he received a personal call from President Biden.
He was born in Tifton, Georgia, and now lives near Fort Benning. The 1949 West Point graduate maintains close ties to the 75th Ranger Regiment. In April, he visited and offered words of encouragement to Rangers participating in the annual Best Ranger Competition at the Army post.
Puckett was inducted into the Ranger Hall of Fame in 1992.
As of this writing, three other Medal of Honor recommendations, for Dwight W. Birdwell, Alwyn C. Cashe and Earl D. Plumlee have yet to be decided on.
No date has yet been set for the ceremony that will take place at the White House.