FORT BENNING, Ga. (WRBL) — As the nearly 100 Best Ranger competitors prepared for a grueling overnight road march, a Ranger legend showed up to wish them luck and encourage them.
Col. Ralph Puckett, an inspiration to generations of the Army’s elite fighters, walked through the competition zone, shaking hands with men who were 12 hours into a demanding 60-hour endurance contest.
As they got ready to start the road march, the 94-year-old Puckett, using a walker, made his way to the starting line. Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade commander Col. Antwan L. Dunmyer was next to Puckett when the retired colonel made his move.
“Roger that,” Dunmyer said as he kept up with Puckett.
“I am proud of you guys,” Puckett told the competitors. “You are the best our country produces. You are certainly the best our Army produces. Thank you for all you do for us. For our country.”
Puckett is a veteran of the Korean and Vietnam wars. He was awarded two Distinguish Service Crosses, the military’s second highest honor for valor, for his actions, one in each conflict.
Puckett and Dunmyer fired pistols to start the foot march that was scheduled to last nearly eight hours.