THANK A VET: Send local World War II veteran Rufus Puckett a card for his 100th birthday

Published 1:56 pm Tuesday, August 1, 2023

World War II veteran Rufus Puckett turns 100 years old on Aug. 8, and the Southern Heritage Air Foundation and Puckett’s family are celebrating him in a big way.

Born in Allen, Miss., Puckett now lives in Tallulah, La.

“I was one of the very few African Americans to serve in the United States Army during WWII, as it was still a time of segregation,” Puckett said in a statement.

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Puckett was in Patton’s 3rd Army Division and fought in the Battle of the Bulge,  one of the war’s worst battles. Puckett remembered the harsh environment.

“It was cold and I remember that at times, I would go to remove my boots and socks and chunks of my skin would come off,” Puckett said.

Puckett joined the Army right after the attacks at Pearl Harbor.

“Everybody, all these young men, were going into the war,” he said. “I was just doing my part.”

Puckett remembered seeing the Queen of England before the invasion began.

“We were in England at the time getting ready. They were getting ready for D-Day,” he said. “Queen Elizabeth, when we got to England, she made a speech to us and then welcomed us to England.”

Puckett was honored with the World War II Medal, the Army of Occupation Medal and the American Campaign Medal for his service.

He said the secret to his long life is prayer.

“All I can say is, my mother told me, and I’ve never forgotten, she said, ‘Son, don’t you ever forget to pray,’” Puckett said. “And I prayed all the time and the Lord took care of me.”

The Southern Heritage Air Foundation is asking for help to make Puckett’s birthday special by sending him a birthday card or letter with $1 included.

The cards and letters can be sent to:

Southern Heritage Air Foundation (SHAF)
c/o Mr. Rufus Puckett
179 VTR Airport Road
Tallulah, LA 71282

They will be delivered to Pucket by the SHAF on his birthday.