Sergeant Major Clinton A. Puckett served as the 6th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps from 1 February 1973, until he retired from active duty on 31 May 1975.

Born 6 March 1926, in Waurika, Oklahoma, he grew up in Roswell, New Mexico. He joined the Marine Corps on 18 February 1944 at Santa Fe, New Mexico and went through recruit training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, California. Moving north, he joined the 5th Marine Division at Camp Pendleton. He trained with the division and as a rifleman and landed on Iwo Jima on D-Day, 19 February 1945. Puckett later witnessed the famous flag raising on Mount Suribachi on 23 February 1945.

Following the Iwo Campaign, he was sent back to Camp Pendleton where he served as a military policeman until his discharge in 1946.

Puckett returned to the Corps in July 1947 as and was ordered to duty at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego. In late 1947 he received orders to sea duty and spent 2 1/2 years aboard the cruiser Columbus. He was promoted to corporal in May 1948. Corporal Puckett then returned to San Diego where he served as a drill instructor until 1951.

As a sergeant he was ordered to Korea with Company G, 3d Battalion, 5th Marines and was promoted to staff sergeant in October 1951. While on patrol in June 1952, Puckett earned the Navy Cross for extraordinary heroism against a vastly superior enemy force. His patrol, operating well forward of a friendly outpost, was pinned down by the enemy. Puckett ordered a withdrawal covering his men with submachine gun fire, accounting for four enemy dead and although wounded in the left hand by grenade fragments, continued to cover his patrol's withdrawal. Upon returning to the outpost, Puckett discovered that three of his men were missing. He organized a small rescue party. After a brief skirmish in hostile territory, they located the missing Marines, two of whom were seriously wounded in the legs, and returned them to safety.

Newly promoted to technical sergeant, Puckett, following a brief period of duty at Camp Pendleton, returned to San Diego to attend the newly established Drill Instructor School. He graduated first in his class and was retained by the school as an instructor.

In July 1955 he was ordered to Korea where he served as an advisor for the Korean Marine Corps until September 1956. He was promoted to master sergeant in October 1955. Returning to Camp Pendleton he was assigned as a company First Sergeant and later as regimental operations chief with the 2d Infantry Training Regiment. During his tour there, he was promoted to first sergeant.

He became the First Sergeant of Marine Barracks, Pearl Harbor in April 1959 and was promoted to sergeant major in February 1960. In May 1962 he returned to Camp Pendleton as Sergeant Major of the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division and in April 1964 was assigned to the 3d Battalion, 5th Marines. He went to Vietnam with that battalion (redesignated the 1st Battalion, 3d Marines) in September 1965.

Following a two-year tour on the Inspector-Instructor Staff, 3d Battalion, 23d Marines, 4th Marine Division in San Bruno, California, he again returned to duty in Vietnam, serving as the Sergeant Major of the 7th Marines.

He was reassigned to Camp H. M. Smith, Hawaii, in September 1969 and served there until July 1970 when ordered to duty at Headquarters Marine Corps. He had been the Personnel Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps until he assumed duties as Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps on 1 February 1973.

Sergeant Major Puckett's personal decorations include the Navy Cross, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Navy Commendation Medal with Combat "V" and the Combat Action Ribbon.

Sergeants Major of the Marine Corps 

Marine Corps University