President Biden will award a Korean War hero, Ralph Puckett Jr., the Medal of Honor on Friday, seven many years after he led 51 Rangers in preventing off successive waves of enemy counterattacks after he was gravely wounded by a hand grenade.
Colonel Puckett, 94, initially acquired a Distinguished Service Cross for his command of the Eighth U.S. Army Ranger Company in November 1950. But that citation was upgraded after a marketing campaign by a retired Army officer who believed the actions by the young lieutenant from Georgia warranted the nation’s highest navy honor.
Mr. Biden will honor Colonel Puckett, who has additionally been adorned for his valor in Vietnam, throughout a go to to the White House by President Moon Jae-in of South Korea. It is the primary time Mr. Biden has issued the medal as president — and the primary time a overseas chief might be current for such a ceremony, in accordance to White House officers.
Colonel Puckett’s troopers have been “inspired and motivated by the extraordinary leadership and courageous example” he supplied, the administration stated in a press release.
The Korean War, a bloody and inconclusive stalemate typically referred to as a “forgotten” battle as a result of it was fought within the shadows of World War II and Vietnam, claimed the lives of 36,574 American troopers, together with hundreds of thousands of Korean and Chinese troopers and civilians.
First Lt. Puckett, his rank on the time, was hit within the foot by a hand grenade as he started to arrange the protection of an American-controlled hill towards a chaotic assault by a Chinese drive that drastically outnumbered his personal.
But he refused medical analysis, and darted out and in of his foxhole to rally his males, exposing himself repeatedly to hazard, in accordance to an oral history project documenting his heroism.
When the Chinese lastly overran the place, Lieutenant Puckett — who had been hit by mortar fireplace twice after his foot was practically blown off — ordered his firm to evacuate and stated he needed to be left behind.
Two Rangers ignored him, and carried him behind the strains to security.
He would get well, and go on to serve in Vietnam, earlier than retiring as a colonel in 1971 as one of essentially the most adorned fight veterans within the nation’s historical past.
During his 22-year profession, he acquired the Distinguished Service Cross twice, in addition to two Silver Stars for valor, two Bronze Star Medals and 5 Purple Hearts.
Colonel Puckett would go on to function an government with Outward Bound, a nonprofit academic group that exposes college students, particularly these from cities, to wilderness settings.