President Joe Biden awarded his first Medal of Honor on Friday to a 94-year-old retired Army colonel for bravery below enemy hearth greater than a half-century in the past within the Korean War.
It took a coverage change for retired Col. Ralph Puckett Jr. to obtain the navy’s highest honor. The 2020 protection coverage invoice eliminated a requirement that such awards be given inside 5 years of a valorous act.
“Today we are hosting a true American hero and awarding an honor that is long overdue — more than 70 years overdue,” Biden stated throughout the East Room ceremony. “Though I understand that your first response to us hosting this event was to ask why all the fuss.”
Biden stated Puckett had advised they only mail him the award.
“Rather than mail it to you, I would’ve walked it to you,” Biden stated, including that the retired Ranger certainly deserved “a little bit of fuss.”
Over two days in November 1950, Puckett as first lieutenant helped the eighth U.S. Army Ranger Company to safe a strategically vital hill close to Unsan. They confronted mortar, machine gun and small arms hearth.
Puckett sprinted throughout the open space to attract hearth in order that Rangers might discover and destroy enemy positions. Two mortar rounds later landed in his foxhole throughout the combating and significantly wounded him. He ordered his males to go away him behind and depart the hill, however they refused.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in additionally attended the White House ceremony forward of his summit with Biden, making him the primary overseas chief to take action.
“Without the sacrifice of veterans, including Colonel Puckett and the Eighth Army Ranger Company, the freedom and democracy we enjoy today couldn’t have blossomed in Korea,” Moon stated.
Puckett lives in Columbus, Georgia, with Jean, his spouse of 68 years.
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