WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — On Friday, President Joe Biden awarded his first medal of honor to 94-year-old U.S. Army Col. Ralph Puckett Jr., someone he calls a true American hero.
“I’m incredibly proud to give Col. Ralph Puckett’s act of valor the full recognition that it always deserved,” the president said.
Puckett was recognized for going beyond the call of duty in November 1950, during the Korean war.
“When the enemy machine gunners slowed the rangers’ advance, Puckett risked his life by running across the area to draw fire that would reveal the location of the nest,” Biden said.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in attended this historic moment, grateful for Puckett’s efforts that helped bring democracy to his country.
“Freedom and democracy we enjoy today couldn’t have blessed us in Korea,” Moon said.
Puckett says he doesn’t deserve this award.
“I was surprised that I was selected to be awarded the medal, but I certainly felt that my rangers deserve recognition and that kind of award for what they had done,” Puckett said.
But members of his unit say Puckett deserves this.
“I have never seen a better man than Ralph Puckett,” Merle Simpson said.
Biden said they were able to make this happen thanks to the support from the late Sen. John McCain.