Though many young soldiers exhibited great acts of valor and bravery during wars like the Korean War, not all of them have been recognized for their contributions. Those who received recognition were awarded the medals that were available at the time.
One retired Army Colonel is getting an upgrade for his actions in the Korean war at 94.
During the Korean War, Col. Ralph Puckett was a lieutenant in the Army Rangers. He was getting prepared for the battle for Hill 205.
The Chinese had just joined the Korean War. They demolished the Eighth Army’s right flank. In response, the U.S. retreated.
The day prior to the battle, Puckett received a briefing on the Chinese troops. There were 25,000 Chinese soldiers in place on Hill 205.
“Well, I knew that violated our doctrine. When the United States Army made an assault or made an attack, the doctrine was to outnumber the enemy 2:1 or preferably 3:1. Well, they [the Chinese] outnumbered us 3:2, so I knew something was wrong.”Col. Ralph Puckett, during an oral history project
Outnumbered, But Still Fighting
Puckett had 51 Rangers and nine Korean soldiers. Even with their small numbers, they worked to get over 800 yards of frozen rice paddies.
He and his men took hold of the hill that looked over the Chongchon River. The area is now North Korea.
Once they took over the hill, Puckett and his Rangers established a perimeter and settled in for the night ahead in the hill’s bunkers. They were alone with the closest unit over a mile from their position.
Long Night Ahead
The Chinese attacked throughout the night. It began with whistles from their lines, then mortar barrages, weapon fire, and even hand grenades.
Puckett called in a few close artillery strikes, which helped hold off the Chinese. However, when early in the morning, their luck changed.
According to Puckett, he called in another strike, but the unit was busy and was unable to help. Puckett decided to withdraw.
He was leaving his foxhole to see the Chinese’s position, and he was shot multiple times.
He laid there wounded with three Chinese soldiers 15 yards away. Two privates first class, Billy G. Walls and David L. Pollock, refused to leave him, shot three Chinese troops, and brought Puckett back down.
He is now is receiving the Medal of Honor and a decision is pending for the other three men involved.
Source: Army Times