UPDATED 3:38 PM PT – Friday, May 21, 2021
Retired Army Colonel Ralph Puckett Jr. was awarded the Medal of Honor more than 70 years after his heroic actions.
At the White House on Friday, Joe Biden presented the 94-year-old with the nation’s highest award for combat valor. He earned the medal for actions taken during the Korean War in 1950, including leading a 60-man company to defend their position against hundreds of Chinese soldiers.
Biden said Puckett questioned the need for a ceremony at all, stating they could simply mail the medal to him. However, Biden explained that Puckett had waited long enough and that a ceremony was well-deserved. Puckett stood proudly in the Army’s new Green Service Uniform as he accepted his medal.
Puckett also served during WWII and retired from active duty in 1971. South Korean President Moon Jae-in attended and also commemorated Puckett’s bravery, calling him a true hero of the Korean War. Jae-in’s attendance went down in history as the first time that a foreign leader had participated in a Medal of Honor ceremony.