Saturday, November 10, 2012

November 10: General "Chesty" Puller, USMC

On this date in history ..... 2005:

Lt. General Lewis “Chesty” Puller, United States Marine, is honored (on the 230th birthday of the Marine Corp), on a commemorative stamp in the Distinguished Marines series.  Puller served as a Marine from 1918 to 1955. He became known as a living legend …. a Marine’s Marine … and was one of the most famous, most outspoken, and one of, if not the most decorated Marine in history.
He is the only Marine to receive 5 Navy Crosses, which ranks second only to the Medal of Honor. Puller served in the battle of Peleliu (Commanding Officer, First Battalion, Seventh Marines, First Marine Division), the bloodiest battle in Marine Corps history, where he rec’d his first Legion of Merit award, and at the Inchon Landing at Korea in Sept 1950 (Silver Star Award).

His fifth and final Navy Cross was during the Battle of Chosin Reservoir where he made his famous quote, "We're surrounded. That simplifies our problem of getting to these people and killing them."  When asked by a journalist about being surrounded by 22 enemy divisions, he said, They are a damn site better than the U.S. Army, at least we know that they will be there in the morning."

Puller's son, Lewis Jr.,was also a Marine. During a tour of Vietnam he stepped on a land mine, losing both legs and severely damaging both hands and arms.

Puller had a stroke due to high blood pressure and was forced to retire in 1955.  He died in October 1971.  Many Marines close their day with the oft repeated tribute of "Good night, Chesty, wherever you are."

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