President Joe Biden is awarding his first Medal of Honor to a 94-year-old retired Army colonel for bravery more than a half-century ago in the Korean War. A change in policy was needed for retired Col. Ralph Puckett Jr. to receive the military’s highest honor.
The 2020 defense policy bill removed a requirement that such awards be given within five years of a valorous act. Over two days in November 1950, Puckett as first lieutenant helped the 8th U.S. Army Ranger Company to secure a strategically important hill.
Puckett was awarded the medal in East Room ceremony on Friday. Puckett sprinted across the open area to draw fire so that Rangers could find and destroy enemy positions. Biden called him “a true American hero.”