Colonel (Ret.) Ralph Puckett Jr. was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions while serving as the commander of the 8th Ranger Company during the Korean War. Puckett was a career Army soldier who served in both the Korean and Vietnam wars. After his service in Korea he attended Special Forces training and commanded Special Forces B and C teams in the 10th Special Forces Group in Bad Tolz, Germany. He was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Biden in a ceremony on May 21, 2021 at the White House.
In November 1950 Puckett and his Rangers attacked and secured Hill 205 in the vicinity of Unsan, Korea. His company held off five Chinese counterattacks after taking the hill – even though they were outnumbered ten to one. On the sixth counterattack they were overrun in hand-to-hand combat. Puckett was wounded multiple times and unable to move, but his men managed to evacuate him to safety.
Puckett continued to serve on active duty after the Korean War. His subsequent assignments include the U.S. Army Ranger School, West Point, and other postings. While serving as a Ranger advisor to the Columbian Army he help establish the Escuela de Lanceros program. His other awards include a Distinguished Service Cross, two Silver Stars, two Legions of Merit, two Bronze Stars with V device, five Purple Hearts, and others.
In 1971 he retired from the Army and became involved in a number of activities and organizations. He was the national programs coordinator of Outward Bound, Inc. and established Discovery, Inc. He would receive several other prestigious honors after his military retirement to include induction into the U.S. Army Ranger Hall and as honorary colonel of the 75th Ranger Regiment.
“President awards Medal of Honor to retired Ranger for actions on Hill 205”, Army News Service, May 21, 2021.
Video – Medal of Honor White House Ceremony, The White House, May 21, 2021.
Video – Features Col. (Ret) Ralph Puckett talking about his career in the military. U.S. Army, May 21, 2021, 8 mins.
Video – Medal of Honor Media Round Table: Col. Ralph Puckett, Jr., U.S. Army, May 21, 2021.
“Medal of Honor: Korean conflict hero led Rangers in battle for Hill 205”, Army News Service, May 20, 2021
“Retired Ranger to receive Medal of Honor for Korean Battle”, Army News Service, May 19, 2021.
“Maneuver Center of Excellence celebrates award upgrade for Ranger legend”, Army News Service, May 19, 2021.
“The Battle for Hill 205: U.S. Army Rangers and the Beginning of the Korean War’s Third Phase”, USASOC History Office, December 4, 2020.