President Biden awarded a Korean Conflict 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 obtained a Distinguished Service Cross for his command of the Eighth U.S. Military Ranger Firm in November 1950. However that citation was upgraded after a marketing campaign by a retired Military officer who believed the actions by the young lieutenant from Georgia warranted the nation’s highest navy honor.
“I want our son Beau had been capable of see this,” Mr. Biden mentioned as he positioned the ribbon round Colonel Puckett’s neck, invoking the reminiscence of his late son, Beau Biden, who served within the Military Decide Advocate Basic’s Corps.
Mr. Biden honored Colonel Puckett, who has additionally been adorned for his valor in Vietnam, throughout a go to to the White Home by President Moon Jae-in of South Korea. It was the primary time Mr. Biden has issued the medal as president — and the primary time a international chief was current for such a ceremony, in line with White Home officers.
The Korean Conflict, a bloody and inconclusive stalemate also known as a “forgotten” warfare as a result of it was fought within the shadows of World Conflict II and Vietnam, claimed the lives of 36,574 American troopers, together with hundreds of thousands of Korean and Chinese language 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 in opposition to a chaotic assault by a Chinese language pressure that vastly outnumbered his personal.
However he refused medical analysis, and darted out and in of his foxhole to rally his males, exposing himself repeatedly to hazard as a decoy to find the supply of enemy hearth, in line with an oral history project documenting his heroism.
“Puckett risked his life by operating throughout the realm to attract hearth that may reveal the situation of the nest,” Mr. Biden recounted. “It took three runs deliberately exposing himself to the enemy to select off the gunner.”
When the Chinese language lastly overran the place, Lieutenant Puckett — who had been hit by mortar hearth twice after his foot was practically blown off — ordered his firm to evacuate and mentioned 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 some of the adorned fight veterans within the nation’s historical past.
Throughout his 22-year profession, he obtained 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 Sure, a nonprofit instructional group that exposes college students, particularly these from cities, to wilderness settings.