Thursday, November 18, 2010



Lieutenant General Lewis Burwell "Chesty" Puller (June 26, 1898 – October 11, 1971)


I grew up as the firstborn son of a lifer career designated Marine. And as such I was continuously exposed to the traditions, myths, legends and the mystique that is the United States Marine Corps. All of my boyhood heroes were Marines. I can tell you all of the symbology behind every nuance of the Marine Corps eagle globe and anchor, why the eagle looks to the right, why that part of the globe was facing forward, etc. etc.

But, that is not what I would tell you about today. I want to tell you what I know about 

Chesty Puller
Now before you say something stupid about his nick name sounding like a B rated porn stars name, know this, is the most endeared, beloved, cherished and honored Marine in the history of the Marine Corps. And I have actually seen people get their dental plan activated by making such statements in front of Marines.
He joined the Marines at the age of 17 as a Pfc (E1) and was promoted all the way to the rank of Lieutenant General. And he was the most decorated Marine in the history of the Marine Corps. He earned the Navy Cross on five separate occasions. More than any other military man in history.

He was never awarded Congressional medal honor. But, if you ask any Marine they will tell you the reason he did not get it was because of his notoriety in chastising the upper echelons of the Army and the Air Force in public. He pulled no punches with his language, and he said exactly what he thought about the lack of fortitude and valor of the other services.

Some examples are:

When an Army captain asked him for the direction of the line of retreat,
Col Puller called his Tank Commander, gave them the Army position, and ordered:
"If they start to pull back from that line, even one foot, I want you to open fire on them."
Turning to the captain, he replied "Does that answer your question?
We're here to fight."
At Koto-ri in Korea
- Chesty Puller at Koto-ri in Korea
(From "Marine: The Life of Chesty Puller" by Burke Davis)

"The mail service has been excellent out here, and in my opinion this is all that the
Air Force has accomplished during the war."
- Chesty Puller in a letter to his wife while in Korea

"Don't forget that you're First Marines! Not all the Communists in hell can overrun you!"- Chesty Puller motivating his men at Chosin Reservoir

"Our Country won't go on forever, if we stay soft as we are now. There won't
be any AMERICA because some foreign soldiery will invade us and take our
women and breed a hardier race!"
-Lt. Gen. Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, USMC

"Take me to the Brig. I want to see the "real Marines"
Major General Chesty Puller, USMC - while on a Battalion inspection.

When the Marines were cut off behind enemy lines and the Army had written
the 1st Marine Division off as being lost because they were surrounded by 22
enemy divisions. The Marines made it out inflicting the highest casualty
ratio on an enemy in history and destroying 7 entire enemy divisions in the
process. An enemy division is 16500+ men while a Marine division is 12500 men.

"They are a damn site better than the U.S. Army, at least we know that they
will be there in the morning."
- Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller
when a journalist asked him about being surrounded by 22. enemy divisions

"there are not enough chinamen in the world to stop a fully armed Marine regiment
 from going where ever they wont to go"
- Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller

Earlier in the Korean war, Puller was reported to have ordered Marines to gather all Army equipment abandoned by withdrawing soldiers and put it to good use. He later reportedly told an Army colonel who demanded the return of the equipment, "It all has USMC markings on it now and if you want it back, kick my ass. And take it." The equipment remained in possession of the Marines.

Chesty is loved by enlisted men for his constant actions to improve their lot. Puller insisted upon good equipment and discipline; once he came upon a second lieutenant who had ordered an enlisted man to salute him 100 times for missing a salute. Chesty told the lieutenant, "You were absolutely correct in making him salute you 100 times lieutenant, but you know that an officer must return every salute he receives. Now return them all."

a common chant at Marine Corps boot camp and OCS schools goes "If it was good enough for Chesty Puller, then it's good enough for me."

and at Marine Corps boot camp, and in all the Navy brigs run by the Marines, trainees and detaineesalways a tension in their bunks just before lights out and recite in unison;
"Good night Chesty Puller, wherever you are."

to that end I would like to say God bless you Chesty Puller, wherever you are!


Karen said...

Nothing like a man who says it like it is. God Bless him indeed. Maybe that handle had something to do with his tenacity. :-)

Heff said...

Hey, wait. I though Kid Rock was the American BadAss.

I guess you lose your title when you get your ass kicked in a Waffle House....

red.neck chic said...

I love it when you do these posts...

American Bad Ass indeed!

;-D xoxoxo

Marnie said...

I always like a person who marches to the beat of a different drummer!

Just telling it like it is said...

Pantie Dropper!

Red Shoes said...

I LOVE the quotes you cited!!!

I can see where things like that could prevent one from receiving the Medal of Honor...!!!



This post gave me goose bumps! What a fitting tribute to a wonderful man. Thank you for bringing him to our attention!

I LOVED this quote:

"It all has USMC markings on it now and if you want it back, kick my ass. And take it."

Cocaine Princess said...

Bravo! Semper~Fi!

P.S. Happy Thanksgiving weekend.