[November 17, 2014] Lewis Burwell “Chesty” Puller, United States Marine Corps, was one of the most decorated members in the U.S. military. Both his leadership and exceptional bravery stand without question, having been awarded five Navy Crosses – only two people hold that distinction. He saw combat in Haiti, World War II (Pacific Theater), and Korea. If there ever was an ideal U.S. Marine, “Chesty” Puller typifies that man.
While attending Virginia Military Institute, he left with the idea of getting into World War I. He said that he wanted to “go where the guns are!” Although he did not see action in WWI, he was in 40 combat engagements in Haiti during the early 1920s. In WWII, Lieutenant Colonel Puller commanded Marines on Guadalcanal during some of its most fierce fighting. Later, after being promoted to the rank of Colonel and commanding the 1st Marine Regiment, he was involved in the battle on Peleliu; one of the bloodiest battles in Marine Corps history. In the Korean War he was in the Inchon Landing and the Battle of Chosin Reservoir.
“We’ve been looking for the enemy for some time now. We’ve finally found him. We’re surrounded. That simplifies things.” – Colonel “Chesty” Puller at the Battle of Chosin Reservoir1
If he was anything, “Chesty” Puller was a fighter. He was the type of man who knew the only way to defeat an enemy was to aggressively bring the fight to him. Puller earned the nickname “Chesty” for his bull chest and for his absolute fearlessness and devotion to duty. Puller was known to tell Marines, “don’t get too chesty.” The term “chesty” was an old marine expression meaning cocky. He remains a legend to the U.S. Marine Corps.2 In recognition of his outstanding leadership, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General.
“Chesty” Puller is a real American hero. We salute him and his men for their bravery during the three wars in which he provided heroic service to our nation.
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