Preserving The Oral HistorIES of Combat Veterans


Ralph Puckett | Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade - Army

3:10   |   What do men need in a leader? Ralph Puckett draws on his long experience to answer that and then relate it to today's challenges for the military. He notes that some mistakes are repeated and that perhaps, "What we learned is that we don't learn anything from our wars."

More From Ralph Puckett

Keywords   :     Ralph Puckett    Ranger    servant leadership    Team Of Teams    Stanley McChrystal    Afghanistan    Korea    Vietnam

Videos ( 15 )
  • Ralph Puckett  |  Korea  |  Eighth Army Ranger Company  |  4:19

    He wanted to be a military aviator, but West Point had no aviation program. Impressed by the infantry leaders he encountered, Ralph Puckett decided there would be no truer test of himself than to become a combat infantry officer.

  • Ralph Puckett  |  Korea  |  Eighth Army Ranger Company  |  5:13

    He was at jump school when he heard about the North Koreans invading the South. Determined to get in the war, young 2nd Lieutenant Ralph Puckett was at a stopover in Japan when he was told to report for possible selection for a special Ranger unit. He found out that the officers were already selected but he made a pitch to get on the team as a rifleman if nothing else. Come back tomorrow, he was told.

  • Ralph Puckett  |  Korea  |  Eighth Army Ranger Company  |  4:02

    We were unprepared for war when we had to fight one in Korea. Ralph Puckett should know because his job was to take a small unit of new Rangers into the country for dangerous missions. They arrived at Pusan where the American forces had just barely avoided being pushed into the sea.

  • Ralph Puckett  |  Korea  |  Eighth Army Ranger Company  |  5:43

    Piano wire? Those Rangers want everything, groused the supply officer. When the volunteer company got into Korea, though, they only had the most basic cold weather gear. The first mission for company commander Ralph Puckett and his men was to rout North Korean stragglers and units left behind when they retreated Northward.

  • Ralph Puckett  |  Korea  |  8th Army Ranger Company  |  12:28

    It was called Hill 205. The small Ranger company was told to take and hold the hill. They did that as long as they could but Ralph Puckett and his men had to go through hell to do it. Waves of Chinese attackers had him calling in very close artillery strikes. He lay there, unable to move after three wounds, watching the Chinese bayonet wounded Rangers. Then two figures charged up the hill. For his actions in this battle, he would be awarded the Medal of Honor.

  • Ralph Puckett  |  Korea  |  Eighth Army Ranger Company  |  4:37

    Both feet were severely injured so Ralph Puckett had some serious hospital time coming up. Evacuated from Korea to Japan, then back to Fort Benning, he could, at least, see his family. Then came a knock on the door and two pretty girls walked in. If only they knew what he had just told his father.

Cold War
  • Ralph Puckett  |  Cold War  |  Multiple Units  |  3:44

    After suffering severe wounds in Korea, Ralph Puckett spent two years at the Ranger Department in various training assignments. Then he went to a command assignment in Puerto Rico, a "go to war" company. He was given the job of setting up a short orientation school, experience that would help him on his next assignment.

  • Ralph Puckett  |  Cold War  |  US Army Mission to Columbia  |  6:17

    It was an interesting assignment. Help the Columbian Army establish a Ranger training school and get it going. Ralph Puckett built up the program from nothing and he knew it was going to be very good, but he did have one problem, what to call the Columbian Rangers?

  • Ralph Puckett  |  Cold War  |  Multiple Units  |  4:19

    Ralph Puckett's favorite tour was the three years he spent in Germany with a Special Forces Group. He had his family there and the Ranger learned a lot from the assignment. It was early on for Vietnam, but he heard stories and began reading up on it. Back in the States in a Pentagon job, he asked to be put on the list to go.

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