“The absolute best book on military leadership that I have ever read. A superb, very readable series of short, incisively written leadership lessons by one of the very few great battlefield leaders in the history of the U.S. Army.

This book should be read by every officer and NCO in the Army and Marine Corps. A superb compendium of ‘how to’ and ‘how not to.’”

—H. G. Moore, Lieutenant General, U.S. Army Retired

“We were at the top of a mountain in north Georgia just after daylight and a long night patrol and raid. Here we were with a group of young Rangers conducting an after action review, all listening intensely to our Ranger mentor. No, it was not Ranger School but it could have been. It was a group of young Ranger
Captains from the 75th Ranger Regiment who were participating in the Regiment’s ‘Mongaday’ exercise and our Honorary Colonel of the Regiment, COL (Ret.) Ralph Puckett, was sharing his observations from the patrol. This was not unusual as he routinely participated on these and many other exercises and live-fire training events. His remarks always came at the end of our After Action Reviews and were always the most useful to every Ranger present. I heard more times than I can remember, ‘he should write
a book.’

Words for Warriors is a must read for every leader from platoon level to General Officer. A legend among Infantrymen and Rangers, COL (Ret.) Ralph Puckett elegantly shares lessons and wisdom from 56 years of leading, teaching, training, and mentoring Warriors in combat and peace from his experiences in such diverse environments as Korea, Colombia, Vietnam, Puerto Rico, Panama, and Europe. Throughout his Army career and years as the Honorary Colonel of the 75th Ranger Regiment, COL (Ret.) Puckett selflessly gave his time and dedicated himself to preparing Warriors, their families, and units for combat. Thanks to this book, generations of Soldiers will benefit from one of our Army’s most respected Warriors.”

—Purl K. Keen, Brigadier General, U.S. Army

“I have had the privilege of reading Ralph Puckett’s Words for Warriors. It is an extraordinary book written by an extraordinary man. It is a compilation of essays and think pieces written over a period of time by Colonel Puckett. They focus on the essentials of the trade of the warrior in a way unlike the field manual or the ‘I was there’ books available today. If Gaius Hardnosius, Centurion of the IX ‘Spanish’ Legion in Britain in the time of Boadiccea, could read this book he would recognize the ideas and suggestions as a most valuable tool in the management of his Century. That is just the point. The problems faced by today’s combat leaders are little different from those faced by the Roman Legions. The technology has changed, but the hearts and minds of Soldiers are little different today than they have been since time immemorial. Puckett focuses on the care and training of Soldiers to bring them to the highest state of mastery of the profession of arms. He looks at the Soldier’s needs and motivations in a variety of situations. He calls on his own extensive combat experience and his experience as a teacher of men to provide boiled down wisdom that leaders can use. It would be fair to say that a great deal of it will not be the thunderclap of revealed wisdom to a student of leadership. It would also be fair to say that the information here presented has seldom been put together in such a practical form and expressed so well by a man who is a superb combat Soldier rather than a school room thinker. Every combat officer and non-commissioned officer should read this book.”

—Donald C. Bowman, Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army Retired

“Ralph Puckett is the Ranger’s Ranger, toughminded, intense, Spartan, always right on point. He delivers his views the same way he would fire a rifle.

Puckett’s lifelong love is Soldiering and the Soldier, and especially the Infantryman. For him the epitome is the Ranger.

Like so many, I’m proud to say I served under Ralph Puckett–and there I learned what discipline really is, what most Soldiers and Soldiering really are. It’s all in this book.

Puckett knows firsthand that war is hell, and his thoughts are always of the Soldier who faces that inferno. The covers of this book could be made of steel, but when you open them, you find the story of deep respect and affection for the Soldier and a gripping personal commentary on battle.

The aim of the book is the motivation and celebration of the warrior spirit that sustains the fighter in battle. In this regard, Puckett has the authority of a Soldier wounded five times in two wars.

Puckett has a strong conviction that backs up everything he says. In this book of words, there is no mincing. Not for Ralph Puckett.”

—John R. Galvin, General, U.S. Army Retired

Words for Warriors, mentoring at its best, is Ralph Puckett’s ‘After Action Review’ of over sixty years of practicing, observing, inquiring, thinking and always learning about leading America’s great Soldiers. No theoretical ‘construct’ or ‘paradigm’ here, just lots of experience based, insightful and, most of all, pragmatic ideas. Use them as catalysts for your own or your subordinates’ leadership skill and style development.”

—Ronald G. Odom, Colonel, U.S. Army Retired

“Ralph Puckett is a Warrior and Ranger legend. This book captures the essence of the tools all combat leaders need on today’s battlefield to fight, win and bring their Soldiers home alive. Words for Warriors provides the military leader a ready-made professional notebook that should be reviewed quarterly so we do not forget why we serve and how we should serve. Why learn the hard way? Ralph Puckett provides invaluable insights for all combat leaders on Soldiering.”

—Clarence K. K. Chinn, Colonel, U.S. Army Retired

“It would be folly not to read this book. COL Puckett is one of the most highly regarded Soldiers and leader of Soldiers in our time. His example and experiences have molded many excellent combat leaders and will do the same for you. Any Soldier will become a better warrior by reading and listening toWords for Warriors.”

—A current Special Forces Detachment Commander who
asked to remain anonymous for Operational Security

“Colonel Puckett’s Words for Warriors is a timely and informative book. He continues to mentor us in all aspects of the profession of arms. His service from Korea, to Vietnam to visiting with Rangers in Afghanistan and Iraq (in his late 70’s when most men of his age are on the golf course or in a retirement home) testifies to his caring nature and prowess as a Warrior. Leaders would do well to heed his sage advice as it comes from years of experience, study and thought. Here is advice from an experienced Warrior with decades on the battlefield as opposed to the advice we usually get from an experienced academic with years of schooling working in a think tank.”

—Greg Birch, Command Sergeant Major, U.S. Army

“With an insight as sharp and pointed as the tip of a bayonet, Colonel Ralph Puckett’s Words for Warriors is a compilation of combat and leadership experience from one of the U.S. Army’s most decorated and venerable Soldiers. Whether Infantryman, engineer, clerk or cook, each and every American Soldier is first and foremost a warrior. As such, this work should be required reading for all who aspire to be true members of the Profession of Arms.”

—JD Lock, Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army Retired
Author of The Coveted Black and Gold and Rangers in Combat

“Words for Warriors is truly a one of a kind resource with tremendous application for leaders of all ranks. Colonel Puckett’s common sense approach and professional insights make this a reference you absolutely want on your book shelf so you can refer to it often.”

—William J. Leszczynski, Jr., Brigadier General, U.S. Army Retired

“In Words for Warriors COL Ralph Puckett draws from almost sixty years of personal experience and observation to capture the essence of what it takes to prepare and lead Soldiers in combat. Absolute must read for leaders preparing to deploy to combat on your first or fourth rotation and for anyone else that wants a glimpse into the art of combat leadership.”

—James “Craig” Nixon, Brigadier General, U.S. Army

The Book

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January 2019
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