In a recent Medal of Honor ceremony, President Joe Biden awarded Army Col. Ralph Puckett the prestigious medal for his time in the Korean War. The now retired Army Colonel is 94-years-old.
The battle at Hill 205 was the beginning of China’s involvement in the Korean War. The hill was looking over the Chongchon River.
At the time of the battle 70 years ago, Puckett was a 1st Lieutenant. He led the charge to take over the hill from the Chinese.
On November 25, 1950, Puckett and the 8th Army Ranger Company charged Hill 205. They overtook the Chinese forces against insurmountable odds.
Puckett and his men did their best to defend the hill, for as long as possible, even in the early morning. Puckett called in artillery strikes to help defend their position.
When Puckett became gravely injured, he ordered his men to leave him there as they retreated. His soldiers refused and never forgot his actions.
Puckett and his family went to the ceremony that was done in the East Room in the White House. In Biden’s addressed he referred to the Korean War as “The Forgotten War.”
“Those men who were there under…Puckett’s command never forgot his bravery,” Biden said.
Also in attendance was South Korean president, Moon Jae-in. Moon Jae-in made sure to pose for a picture with Puckett, Biden and the other honorees.
“Without the sacrifice of veterans like Col. Puckett and the 8th Army Ranger Company,” Moon Jae-in said, “the freedom and democracy we enjoy today couldn’t have blossomed in Korea.”
Puckett was incredibly honored to be presented with the award, though he is no stranger to honors. The retired colonel is a well-known Army Ranger with many medals for his years of service.
He has two Distinguished Service crosses, two Silver Stars and two Bronze Stars for his bravery in battle. Puckett retired in 1971 after he was done serving in the Vietnam War.
“It was quite a shock when I received a call from [President Joe Biden]. I never thought he’d be calling to speak to me. I was surprised by how humble, ordinary, and friendly he sounded.”Col. Puckett
Puckett dressed in a uniform from 1949 from his commission from West Point. To him, it symbolized that “our country has survived those many years.”