Former longtime Army Rangers mentor to receive Medal of Honor

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Ralph Puckett, a retired Army colonel, will receive the Medal of Honor for his service during the Korean War. 

Retired Lt. Col. JD Lock confirmed to The Hill on Friday that Puckett, 94, received a phone call from President Biden around 5 p.m. “congratulating him on becoming the nation’s latest Medal of Honor recipient.”

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

Puckett is broadly known for his service in the Korean War, when Chinese forces launched a wave of assaults on Hill 205.

The withdrawal from North Korea back to South Korea is one of the longest in U.S. military history and cost the lives of thousands of U.S. troops.

During the retreat, Puckett, then the commander of the Eighth Army Ranger Company, was wounded by a hand grenade in the first attack but kept at his post. He is also credited with ordering “danger close” artillery strikes near his own position to blunt the Chinese soldiers’ advances.

“I had been wounded three times by then, and I was lying there in my foxhole unable to do anything,” Puckett later said for an oral history project. “I could see three Chinese [soldiers] about 15 yards away from me, and they were bayoneting or shooting some of my wounded Rangers who were in the foxholes.” 

In his life after the military, Puckett began mentoring Army Rangers. 

Puckett has already racked up a slew of awards, including the Distinguished Service Cross and two Silver Stars for valor when he served in Vietnam. He was also awarded five Purple Hearts for injuries suffered in combat and two Bronze Stars for valor.

Tags Joe Biden Ralph Puckett United States Army Rangers

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