Bata wins Puckett Leadership Award


running up that hill
Jan 3, 2007
in Wonderland, with my Alice

FORT BENNING, Ga. (Sine Pari, June 20, 2008) —The 75th Ranger Regiment announced the winner of a newly-formed leadership award competition at a ceremony held here June 19.

Capt. John Bata, Regimental Special Troops Battalion, was chosen as the winner of the first Col. Ralph Puckett (bio) Leadership Award.

Seven junior grade officers, representing three of the Regiment’s four battalions participated in the competition.

Officers were required to compete in weapons qualification, land navigation, and hands on common task training such as weapons assembly, radio communications, and nuclear biological testing. The award was created to recognize junior officers who have demonstrated a “take charge leadership” in demanding circumstances where their personal actions clearly made a difference in the outcome of events.

Bata said he’s thrilled to be the first recipient of this award.

“It is a huge privilege and honor to be associated with anything with Col. Puckett’s name on it. He is an outstanding leader and mentor and I am humbled to be the first to receive this award.”

“One of the things this competition does is to inspire our junior officers to be more tactically proficient in weapons, land navigation, and medical care on the battlefield,” said retired Col. Ralph Puckett.

The purpose of the award is to identify a junior officer in the Ranger Regiment that sticks out amongst his peers for his take charge attitude, said Col. Richard D. Clarke, Regimental Commanding Officer.

“Col. Puckett exemplified that persona when he interviewed to be an officer in the Korean War of a Ranger Company that was being newly formed. Instead of being selected to fill a platoon leader position of the company executive officer, then Lt. Puckett was chosen as the Company Commander. He was placed in charge of a newly formed company and had to take charge, leading them into combat, in some incredibly tough fighting. Much like we expect our Ranger platoon leaders to do today,” said Clarke.

“I was surprised and pleased that the Regimental Commanding Officer approved this competition,” said Puckett, who served as the Honorary Colonel of the 75th Ranger Regiment from January 1996 to January 2008.

Even though Puckett has stepped down as the Honorary Colonel of the 75th Ranger Regiment, he continues to share his leadership and mentorship with the Rangers.

“This award, named in his honor, will be one of the many legacies that he leaves his touch on in the Regiment,” said Col. Richard D. Clarke, commander of the 75th Ranger Regiment. “His biggest contribution, however, will be the numerous Rangers that he touched during those 12 years—during combat operations and training, where he was omnipresent and always had some incredible advice on how to improve.”

Select lieutenants or junior captains serving in the 75th Rgr. Regt. who exemplify the values, ideals and character of the unit were nominated for the award competition. The competition tested core Ranger skills and the ability to think through tactical or complex problems in demanding circumstances and generate successful options.

There are three Col. Ralph Puckett leadership awards that are presented to outstanding officers on Fort Benning.

In addition to the 75th Ranger Regiment, an award is presented to the Officer Honor Graduate at the U.S. Army Ranger Course. Recipient of this award performs successfully in each leadership position, completed the demanding Ranger Course without repeating any phase, and was acclaimed by his peers.

The third award Puckett Leadership Award is presented to an officer who displayed exceptional leadership in the Maneuver Captains Career Course, and exhibits exemplary physical condition, consistent high academic standing and served in a leadership position.


Retired Col. Ralph Puckett presents a 75th Ranger Regiment scroll to Capt. John Bata of the Regimental Special Troops battalion for winning the 1st Annual Col. Ralph Puckett Leadership Award. (Sine Pari photo)