A Soldier's Life
Published by: The University Press of Kentucky
Imprint: The University Press of Kentucky
On November 25, 1950, during one of the toughest battles of the Korean War, the US Eighth Army Ranger Company seized and held the strategically important Hill 205 overlooking the Chongchon River. Separated by more than a mile from the nearest friendly unit, fifty-one soldiers fought several hundred Chinese attackers. Their commander, Lieutenant Ralph Puckett, was wounded three times before he was evacuated. For his actions, he received the country's second-highest award for courage on the battlefield -- the Distinguished Service Cross -- and resumed active duty later that year as a living legend.
In this inspiring autobiography, Colonel Ralph Puckett recounts his extraordinary experiences on and off the battlefield. After he returned from Korea, Puckett joined the newly established US Army Ranger Department, serving as an instructor and tactical officer, and commanding companies at Fort Benning and in the Ranger Mountain Camp in north Georgia. He went on to lead companies in Vietnam, train cadets at West Point, and organize the Escuela de Lancero leadership course in Colombia. Puckett's story is critical reading for soldiers, leaders, military historians, and others interested in the impact of conflict on individual soldiers as well as the military as a whole.
"When once asked by a friend in uniform to describe Colonel Ralph Puckett in one word, I replied with emphasis, 'Inspirational!' That word best captures what Ranger Puckett was to countless soldiers over his decades in uniform and best captures what he has been during his subsequent decades supporting those in uniform." -- From the foreword by General David H. Petraeus, USA (Ret.)
"General readers, history buffs, serious students, and military historians will find abundant sources and references for reflection or writing in this memoir of soldiering from World War II to the present." -- Henry G. Gole, author of Exposing the Third Reich: Colonel Truman Smith in Hitler's Germany
" Ranger arrived just in time. Just in time to remind us of the essence of what it means to be an American. Just in time to remind us that our liberty and the fate of all humanity depends on Soldiers who possess the courage, toughness, and determination to fight those who seek to extinguish freedom. Soldiers like Ralph Puckett--a man whose humility, commitment to selfless service, and willingness to sacrifice impels him to reject the label hero. Call him Soldier. Call him Ranger. Read this book to restore your faith in America and bolster your confidence in the future of this great nation. And ask your children to read this book so they might be inspired and understand better the intangible rewards of service and the sacred covenant that binds Soldiers to each other and the citizens in whose name they fight." -- H. R. McMaster, author of Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies that Led to Vietnam
" Ranger: A Soldier's Life is a gripping story of a leader in the making that held me spellbound.
Anybody who desires to learn what motivates a true American hero should read this book." -- Infantry Bugler
" Ranger describes a fascinating career, and it is a good autobiography ." -- Journal of America's Military Past