Seventy years in the past, on a frozen hilltop deep in what’s now North Korea, a younger First Lieutenant acted with bravery that earned him the Distinguished Service Cross, the army’s second-highest honor.
On Friday, Ralph Puckett, Jr. was hosted at the White House the place he obtained the Medal of Honor, the U.S. authorities’s highest and most prestigious army ornament.
Ralph’s first response was to ask, “Why all of the fuss? Can’t they only mail it to me?”
However, after his lifetime of service to the nation, President Joe Biden mentioned on the medal ceremony, “Reasonably than mail it to you, I’d’ve walked it to you.”
Ralph’s spouse of 68 years, Jeannie Puckett, was within the viewers, too, as Biden described how the couple met—whereas the courageous Military Ranger was recovering from his wounds.
They had been married two years to the day after the battle in November, 1950, for which he was honored this week with the next quotation: “For acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and past the decision of responsibility whereas serving because the commander eighth U.S. Military Ranger Firm…”
51 of Puckett’s Rangers and 9 Korean enlisted troopers set out in a daylight assault to take Hill 205, simply 60 miles from the border with China, which drew mortar, machine gun, and small-arms fireplace towards them. First Lieutenant Puckett mounted the closest tank, exposing himself to the lethal enemy fireplace. Leaping from the tank, he shouted phrases of encouragement to his males and started to guide the Rangers of their offensive.
To make their cost, they needed to cross about half mile of frozen rice paddies beneath fireplace.
“Nearly instantly, enemy fireplace threatened the success of the assault by pinning down one platoon. Leaving the security of his place, with full data of the hazard, First Lieutenant Puckett deliberately ran throughout an open space thrice to attract enemy fireplace, thereby permitting the Rangers to find and destroy the enemy positions and to grab Hill 205,” continued the quotation.
When the Rangers lastly reached the highest of the hill, they discovered it deserted, however Puckett knew the combat wasn’t almost over.
“In the course of the evening, the enemy launched a counterattack that lasted 4 hours. Over the course of the counterattack, the Rangers had been impressed and motivated by the extraordinary management and brave instance exhibited by First Lieutenant Puckett.”
Despite the fact that Puckett’s Rangers had been outnumbered virtually ten to at least one, 5 assaults by a battalion-strength enemy had been repulsed.
In the course of the first wave, First Lieutenant Puckett was wounded by grenade fragments, however refused evacuation and regularly directed artillery assist. Over the course of the subsequent a number of hours, 4 extra waves of assaults got here.
“He repeatedly deserted positions of relative security to make his means from foxhole to foxhole, to examine the corporate’s perimeter and to distribute ammunition amongst the Rangers.”
Extraordinary selflessness above and past the decision
When the enemy launched a sixth assault, two mortar rounds landed in his foxhole, inflicting “grievous wounds” in each his toes, his bottom, his left arm and shoulder.
“Understanding his males had been in a precarious state of affairs, First Lieutenant Puckett commanded the Rangers to depart him behind and evacuate the world. Feeling a way of responsibility to assist him, the Rangers refused the order and staged an effort to retrieve him from the foxhole whereas nonetheless beneath fireplace from the enemy.
Finally, the Rangers succeeded in retrieving First Lieutenant Puckett they usually moved to the underside of the hill, the place First Lieutenant Puckett known as for devastating artillery fireplace on the highest of the enemy-controlled hill.
First Lieutenant Puckett’s extraordinary heroism and selflessness above and past the decision of responsibility had been in line with the very best traditions of army service and mirror nice credit score upon himself, his unit, and the USA Military.”
First Time a International Chief Attended This Ceremony
Biden mentioned in his remarks, “Korea is usually known as the “Forgotten Warfare.” However these males who had been there beneath Lieutenant Puckett’s command — they’ll always remember his bravery. They always remember that he was proper by their aspect all through each minute of it.”
Puckett on the White Home
“And the folks of the Republic of Korea haven’t forgotten, as evidenced by the truth that the President of Korea is right here for this ceremony. I doubt this has ever occurred earlier than.”
President Moon mentioned, “I realized that I’m the primary international chief to ever attend a ceremony of such type. As President of the Republic of Korea, it’s a nice honor and pleasure.
“Colonel Puckett is a real hero of the Korean Warfare… With out the sacrifice of veterans, together with Colonel Puckett and the Eighth Military Ranger Firm, freedom and democracy we get pleasure from at present couldn’t have blossomed in Korea.”
“From the ashes of the Korean Warfare, we rose, we got here again. And that was because of the Korean Warfare veterans who fought for Korea’s peace and freedom. And now, because of their assist and efforts, we’re having fun with prosperity. On behalf of the Korean folks, I categorical deep gratitude and respect to them. Via the conflict veterans, the Korean folks noticed an excellent soul of America that marches towards freedom and peace. Their acts of gallantry, sacrifice, and friendship will eternally be remembered.”
Puckett’s army service didn’t finish within the Korean Warfare. He additionally served within the Vietnam Warfare, the place he earned a second Distinguished Service Cross, two Silver Stars, and two Bronze Stars, including to his 5 Purple Hearts for accidents suffered in fight.
You possibly can examine his life story in his revealed e-book, Ranger: A Soldier’s Life (from the American Warrior Sequence).
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