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Medal of Honor for retired Col. Ralph Puckett Jr.

Friday, May 21, 2021

What is it?

Retired Col. Ralph Puckett Jr., a Korean War veteran, will be awarded the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest award for military valor in action, from the president of the United States during a White House ceremony at 1:00 p.m. EDT on May 21, 2021. Puckett will receive the award for his combat actions at Hill 205 in the vicinity of Unsan, Korea, on Nov. 25-26, 1950.

Puckett served as an infantryman and company commander with the Eighth Army Ranger Company, which he led during a daylight attack of Hill 205. While his men were pinned down and under enemy mortar, machine-gun and small-arms fire, he ran across an open area three times to draw enemy fire, thereby allowing his Rangers to locate and destroy the enemy machine gun and to seize Hill 205.

Puckett inspired and motivated his 57-man company, in zero-degree weather at night, to repulse five assaults by a 500-man battalion supported by intense mortar barrages. Puckett called artillery support, which decimated attacking enemy formations.

What are the current and past efforts of the Army?

Col. Ralph Puckett’s service has previously been recognized with numerous awards and medals, including the Distinguished Service Cross, two Silver Stars, three Legions of Merit, two Bronze Stars, the Commendation Medal, ten Air Medals and five Purple Hearts.

Puckett is a qualified master parachutist and glider trooper. He also earned the coveted U.S. Army Ranger Tab, the Army Combat Infantryman Badge and the Lancero Badge from Colombia.

Puckett’s selfless service and leadership inspired his Rangers to not surrender despite being outnumbered ten to one. To tell Puckett’s heroic story, the Office of the Chief of Public Affairs has created a microsite that includes his biography and videos about his experience.

The White House ceremony will be livestreamed from Col. Ralph Puckett Jr.’s Medal of Honor microsite.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned?

In addition to the ceremony at the White House, DOD and Army senior leaders will recognize Puckett during a Hall of Heroes induction ceremony, at the Pentagon. The ceremony date will be announced at a later date.

The Army is proud of the bravery of its force and will continue to recognize the dedication to duty, service, and personal courage.

Why is this important to the Army?

The Army’s greatest assets are the people- the finest men and women the nation has to offer. The Army’s commitment to the brave men and women does not stop when they transition from the Army uniform. The Army is proud to recognize Puckett’s professionalism, service and sacrifice in full view of a new generation.

Col. Puckett’s actions stand as a testament to those who put everything on the line to accomplish the mission, defeat the enemy, and ensure the safety of everyone on the battlefield, at any cost.


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May 2021

National Asian Pacific Heritage Month

May 10 - June 14: Army National Hiring Days

May 15: Armed Forces Day

May 31: Memorial Day

Focus Quote for the Day

He feared no man, he feared no situation and he feared no enemy. Clearly a unique, courageous Soldier in combat and even more importantly, in my opinion, Col. Puckett was an ultimate Infantry leader.

— Retired Gen. Jay Hendrix

Medal of Honor: Col. (Ret.) Ralph Puckett Jr.