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 navy’s second-highest honor.
On Friday, Ralph Puckett, Jr. was hosted on the White Home the place he acquired the Medal of Honor, the U.S. authorities’s highest and most prestigious navy 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, “Somewhat 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 have 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 hearth in opposition to them. First Lieutenant Puckett mounted the closest tank, exposing himself to the lethal enemy hearth. Leaping from the tank, he shouted phrases of encouragement to his males and commenced to guide the Rangers of their offensive.
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To make their cost, they needed to cross about half mile of frozen rice paddies underneath hearth.
“Nearly instantly, enemy hearth threatened the success of the assault by pinning down one platoon. Leaving the protection of his place, with full information of the hazard, First Lieutenant Puckett deliberately ran throughout an open space thrice to attract enemy hearth, 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 battle wasn’t practically over.
“Through the evening, the enemy launched a counterattack that lasted 4 hours. Over the course of the counterattack, the Rangers have been impressed and motivated by the extraordinary management and brave instance exhibited by First Lieutenant Puckett.”
Though Puckett’s Rangers have been outnumbered nearly ten to 1, 5 assaults by a battalion-strength enemy have been repulsed.
Through the first wave, First Lieutenant Puckett was wounded by grenade fragments, however refused evacuation and frequently directed artillery assist. Over the course of the following a number of hours, 4 extra waves of assaults got here.
“He repeatedly deserted positions of relative security to make his approach from foxhole to foxhole, to examine the corporate’s perimeter and to distribute ammunition amongst the Rangers.”
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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 ft, his bottom, his left arm and shoulder.
“Figuring out his males have been in a precarious scenario, First Lieutenant Puckett commanded the Rangers to depart him behind and evacuate the realm. 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 underneath hearth from the enemy.
Finally, the Rangers succeeded in retrieving First Lieutenant Puckett and so they moved to the underside of the hill, the place First Lieutenant Puckett known as for devastating artillery hearth on the highest of the enemy-controlled hill.
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First Lieutenant Puckett’s extraordinary heroism and selflessness above and past the decision of responsibility have been consistent with the very best traditions of navy service and replicate nice credit score upon himself, his unit, and the USA Military.”
First Time a Overseas Chief Attended This Ceremony
Biden mentioned in his remarks, “Korea is usually known as the “Forgotten Battle.” However these males who have been there underneath Lieutenant Puckett’s command — they’ll always remember his bravery. They always remember that he was proper by their facet 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 discovered that I’m the primary international chief to ever attend a ceremony of such variety. As President of the Republic of Korea, it’s a nice honor and pleasure.
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“Colonel Puckett is a real hero of the Korean Battle… With out the sacrifice of veterans, together with Colonel Puckett and the Eighth Military Ranger Firm, freedom and democracy we take pleasure in in the present day couldn’t have blossomed in Korea.”
“From the ashes of the Korean Battle, we rose, we got here again. And that was because of the Korean Battle 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 struggle veterans, the Korean folks noticed an awesome soul of America that marches towards freedom and peace. Their acts of gallantry, sacrifice, and friendship will ceaselessly be remembered.”
Puckett’s navy service didn’t finish within the Korean Battle. He additionally served within the Vietnam Battle, 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 printed e book, Ranger: A Soldier’s Life (from the American Warrior Sequence).
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