AUSA Graphic Novel Features Legendary Army Ranger

AUSA Graphic Novel Features Legendary Army Ranger

Medal of Honor graphic novel cover
Photo by: AUSA

Retired Col. Ralph Puckett, a legendary and revered Army Ranger who fought in Korea and Vietnam, is the subject of the latest graphic novel in the Association of the U.S. Army’s series on recipients of the Medal of Honor. 

Medal of Honor: Ralph Puckett tells of Puckett’s actions as commander of the 8th Army Ranger Company during the Korean War, when he led his new unit to capture a frozen hilltop near the Chinese border and battled multiple counterattacks by a much larger enemy force.

Puckett, an inaugural member of the Ranger Hall of Fame, was awarded the Medal of Honor in May 2021, more than 70 years after the fight.

“Ralph Puckett is a legend within the Ranger community. It is an honor to help share his story with the AUSA audience and the public,” said Joseph Craig, director of AUSA’s Book Program. “We were fortunate to work with such a talented group of artists to help bring the story to life.”

Medal of Honor: Ralph Puckett is available here.

AUSA launched its Medal of Honor graphic novel series in October 2018. This is the 14th novel in the series. The digital graphic novels are available here.

A native of Tifton, Georgia, Puckett enlisted in the Army in 1943 before being discharged two years later to attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. He graduated in 1949 and quickly volunteered to serve in Korea.

On Nov. 25–26, 1950, Puckett, then a first lieutenant, received orders to secure Hill 205 near Unsan, Korea, and defend the critical position overlooking the Chongchon River, according to an account by the Army.

When the soldiers approached Hill 205, they came under heavy enemy fire, according to the White House when it announced Puckett’s Medal of Honor. “To obtain supporting fire, First Lieutenant Puckett mounted the closest tank, exposing himself to the deadly enemy fire,” the White House said. “Leaping from the tank, he shouted words of encouragement to his men and began to lead the Rangers in the attack.”

Almost immediately, one platoon of Rangers was pinned down by enemy fire. Puckett ran across an open area three times to draw enemy fire, allowing his fellow soldiers to find and destroy the enemy positions and seize Hill 205, according to the White House.

As the Rangers held the hill, enemy fighters launched a counterattack that lasted four hours. 

Puckett continued to motivate his soldiers, and as a result, “five human wave attacks by a battalion-strength enemy element were repulsed,” the White House said.

Puckett, wounded by grenade fragments, refused to be evacuated and continued to direct artillery support and repeatedly abandoned positions of relative safety to check on his troops.

When the enemy launched its sixth attack, two mortar rounds landed in Puckett’s foxhole, inflicting serious wounds that limited his mobility. At the same time, Puckett realized the soldiers’ position was “untenable” because supporting artillery fire was unavailable.

“Knowing his men were in a precarious situation, First Lieutenant Puckett commanded the Rangers to leave him behind and evacuate the area,” according to the White House. 

His Rangers refused and instead moved to evacuate Puckett.

Puckett would earn the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions that night in Korea—an award that is now upgraded to the Medal of Honor. 

He deployed to Vietnam in 1967 with the 101st Airborne Division, earning a second Distinguished Service Cross and two Silver Stars for actions during the Vietnam War. He also received five Purple Hearts for wounds suffered in combat and two Bronze Star Medals with V device for valor, making him one of the most highly decorated soldiers in U.S. history.

Puckett retired from active duty in 1971 after 21 years of service. He remains active within the Army community and was an inaugural inductee into the Ranger Hall of Fame in 1992. He also served from 1996 to 2006 as the first Honorary Colonel of the 75th Ranger Regiment.

His book, Ranger: A Soldier’s Life, part of the Association of the U.S. Army’s Book Program, tells the story of his service.

Each AUSA graphic novel is created by a team of professional comic book veterans. The script for the graphic novel on Puckett was written by Chuck Dixon, whose previous work includes Batman, The Punisher and The ’Nam.

Pencils, inks and the cover were by Chris Batista, who has worked on G.I. Joe, Robin and Green Lantern; colors were by Peter Pantazis, who previously worked on Justice League, Superman and Black Panther; and the lettering was by Troy Peteri, who has worked on Spider-Man, Iron Man and X-Men.