John Robertson

Administrator
Staff member
  • SURNAME
Puckett
  • FORENAME
Ralph,Jr
  • UNIT
10 SF Group
  • RANK
Major
  • NUMBER
  • AWARD
Distinguished Service Cross,Silver Star (x2),Bronze Star (x3),Legion of Merit (x3),Air Medal (x10)
  • PLACE
South Vietnam
  • ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
born 8.12.1926 Tifton,Georgia
graduated USMA,West Point 1949
8 Ranger Infantry Company (Airborne) in Korea (award DSC) (see Ranger 2 Awards)
WIA 25.11.1950
OC Mountain Ranger Division,Ranger Department
Ranger Advisor,US Army Mission to Columbia
10th Special Forces Group in vietnam
retired 1971 as Colonel
married Jean Martin (2 children)
resided Columbus,Georgia
 

CITATION:

Distinguished Service Cross (Upgraded to Medal Of Honor, 2021) : The President of the United States of America, under the provisions of the Act of Congress approved July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to First Lieutenant (Infantry) Ralph Puckett, Jr. (ASN: 0-59165), United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United Nations while serving as Commanding Officer of the 8th Ranger Company, 8213th Army Unit, 8th U.S. Army. First Lieutenant Puckett distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action against enemy aggressor forces near Unsan, Korea, on 25 and 26 November 1950. With complete disregard for his personal safety, First Lieutenant Puckett led his company across eight hundred yards of open terrain under heavy enemy small-arms fire and captured the company's objective. During this operation he deliberately exposed himself to enemy machine-gun fire to enable his men to spot locations of the machine guns. After capturing the objective, he directed preparation of defensive positions against an expected enemy counterattack. At 2200 hours on 25 November 1950, while directing the defense of his position against a heavy counterattack, he was wounded in the fight shoulder. Refusing evacuation, he continued to direct his company through four more counterattacks by a numerically superior force who advanced to within grenade range before being driven back During these attacks, he left the safety of his foxhole in order to observe movements of the enemy and to direct artillery fire. In so doing, he repeatedly exposed himself to heavy small-arms and mortar fire. In the sixth counterattack, at 0300 hours on 26 November 1950, he was wounded again, so seriously that he was unable to move. Detecting that his company was about to be overrun and forced to withdraw, he ordered his men to leave him behind so as not to endanger their withdrawal. Despite his protests, he was dragged from the hill to a position of safety. First Lieutenant Puckett's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

Distinguished Service Cross : The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918 (amended by act of July 25, 1963), takes pleasure in presenting a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Second Award of the Distinguished Service Cross to Lieutenant Colonel (Infantry) Ralph Puckett, Jr. (ASN: 0-59165), United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam, while serving with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 502d Infantry, 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division. Lieutenant Colonel Puckett distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 13 August 1967 while serving as Commanding Officer of an airborne infantry battalion on combat operations near Duc Pho. Shortly after elements of his unit were heavily engaged by a hostile battalion, Colonel Puckett landed in the battle zone to coordinate defenses and to assess the battlefield situation. Disregarding his own safety, he moved across a heavily mined area to the point of the most ferocious fighting to direct and inspire his men against the hostile force. Other elements were savagely attacked with intense mortar fire, so he decentralized the command post to reduce the chance of entire command element being hit. To do this, he personally occupied a foxhole position. He exposed himself to withering fire throughout the night to visit the men in their positions and to encourage and inspire them with his personal bravery and firm determination to overcome the overwhelming onslaught of the fanatical force. He heard cries for help during an intense mortar barrage later that night and dashed through a hail of flying shrapnel to give aid. He personally carried the two wounded soldiers back to safety and used his skill and experience as a truly professional soldier to treat their wounds. When rescue helicopters came in, he repeatedly refused extraction for himself and directed that the casualties be evacuated. With bullets striking all around him, he remained in the open to rally his fatigued men through the long night by sharing every phase of the battle with them. His fearless leadership and aggressive, determined actions in the face of grave danger inspired his men to fight furiously throughout the night and obtain a decisive victory over the numerically superior Viet Cong attackers. Lieutenant Colonel Puckett's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

Silver Star : The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918 (amended by an act of July 25, 1963), takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Lieutenant Colonel (Infantry) Ralph Puckett, Jr. (ASN: 0-59165), United States Army, for gallantry in action against a hostile force on 27 September 1967, near Chu Lai, Republic of Vietnam. During the hours of darkness on that evening, a small enemy element infiltrated the defensive perimeter of the Tactical Command Post, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 502d Infantry Regiment, Americal Division, and initiated an attack with grenades and automatic weapons fire. In the initial stage of the attack, a hand grenade landed approximately eighteen inches from Colonel Puckett's head and exploded, wounding him in the head and seriously affecting his hearing. Dazed and bleeding, Colonel Puckett staggered to his feet and, without hesitation, rushed into the raging battle and immediately began to reorganize the defensive perimeter. With complete disregard for his own safety, Colonel Puckett rushed through the withering hail of enemy grenades and automatic weapons fire and moved from position to position giving his men encouragement and directing their fire. Throughout the remainder of the night Colonel Puckett completely disregarded his wounds and personal safety as he directed all aspects of the defense of the Tactical Command Post and an artillery battery. When MEDEVAC helicopters arrived, Colonel Puckett supervised the evacuation of his wounded men and refused evacuation until his men had been cared for and the situation had returned to normal. The actions of Colonel Puckett undoubtedly inspired his men to such a degree that they successfully defended their positions and forced the enemy to withdraw. Lieutenant Colonel Puckett's outstanding display of gallantry in action and his devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the Americal Division and the United States Army.

Silver Star : The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918 (amended by an act of July 25, 1963), takes pleasure in presenting a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Second Award of the Silver Star to Lieutenant Colonel (Infantry) Ralph Puckett, Jr. (ASN: 0-59165), United States Army, for gallantry in action against a hostile force on 26 August 1967, in the Republic of Vietnam while serving with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 502d Infantry Regiment, Americal Division. Lieutenant Colonel Puckett, in a Command and Control Helicopter, volunteered to go into an insecure, embattled landing zone to evacuate a critically wounded man where medical helicopters could not land. Despite a severe thunder storm and intense hostile fire being directed at the helicopter, Colonel Puckett, with no regard for his own safety, went into the landing zone. While there, he realized that unless something was done immediately, the company was in great danger of being overrun. After successfully evacuating the wounded man, Colonel Puckett returned to the battle area in his helicopter with a cargo of much-needed ammunition. Later in the afternoon when more casualties were sustained and medical helicopters could not get into the area, Colonel Puckett again went into the landing zone with his Command and Control Helicopter and evacuated the dead and wounded. Colonel Puckett's disregard for his own safety while exposed to hostile fire, his unselfish concern for his men, and his valorous acts inspired his men to such a degree that they successfully repelled an enemy of superior number. Lieutenant Colonel Puckett's unquestionable valor was in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflects great credit upon himself, the Americal Division, and the United States Army.

Legion Of Merit : The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, 20 July 1942, takes pleasure in presenting the Legion of Merit to Lieutenant Colonel (Infantry) Ralph Puckett, Jr. (ASN: 0-59165), United States Army, for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the Government of the United States as Commanding Officer, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 502d Infantry Regiment, Americal Division from 1967 to 1968. The singularly distinctive accomplishments of Colonel Puckett and his dedicated contributions in the service of his country reflect the highest credit upon himself and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Army.

Legion Of Merit : The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, 20 July 1942, takes pleasure in presenting a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Second Award of the Legion of Merit to Colonel (Infantry) Ralph Puckett, Jr. (ASN: 0-59165), United States Army, for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the Government of the United States as Commanding Officer, 1st Regiment, United States Corps of Cadets, from 1968 to 1970. The singularly distinctive accomplishments of Colonel Puckett and his dedicated contributions in the service of his country reflect the highest credit upon himself and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Army.

Legion Of Merit : The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, 20 July 1942, takes pleasure in presenting a Second Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Third Award of the Legion of Merit to Colonel (Infantry) Ralph Puckett, Jr. (ASN: 0-59165), United States Army, for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the Government of the United States as Commanding Officer, 2d Brigade, 5th Infantry Division, from 1970 to 1971. The singularly distinctive accomplishments of Colonel Puckett culminate a long and distinguished career in the service of his country and his dedicated contributions reflect the highest credit upon himself and the United States Army.

WEB LINKS:

https://www.armytimes.com/news/your-army/2021/05/21/army-ranger-veteran-receives-medal-of-honor-for-korean-war-heroism/
https://valor.militarytimes.com/hero/5120
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