Skip to comments.Marine Legend Honored(Heads Up, Devil Dogs, Chesty Puller remembered!)
Posted on 11/23/2007 8:11:39 PM PST by kellynla
WEST POINT -- World War I ended days after he enlisted, and his request for active duty in Vietnam in 1966 was denied on account of his age -- after all he was 68.
But, Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller was a force to be reckoned with in every other war and armed conflict between those times. Long before he retired as a lieutenant general, he had become a Marine Corps living legend.
Yesterday, a grateful hometown honored its hero, remembered that he is the only Marine ever to receive five Navy Crosses for bravery and expressed thanks that he was on our side.
"We owe him more than we can every repay," said Mayor Jim Hudson, one of three speakers who helped commemorate a new Virginia historical highway marker in Puller's honor.
"How meaningful it is that a man of his stature lived amongst us," Del. Harvey B. Morgan, R-Middlesex, said when he took his turn on the podium at West Point High School, where several hundred people had gathered.
"He was a true icon," added retired Marine Lt. Gen. Ron Christmas, president of the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation.
Puller fought in Nicaragua and also saw expeditionary service in China and Haiti. He and his men endured a relentless Japanese assault on Guadalcanal in World War II. In Korea, as commander of the 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division, he repelled brutal attacks from surrounding Communist troops that vastly outnumbered the American forces.
"All right," Puller was said to declare as he summed up the bleak situation, "they're on our left, they're on our right, they're in front of us and they're behind us. . . . They can't get away this time!" They didn't. The Marines destroyed seven of the enemy divisions.
"Today's Marines learn about Chesty Puller in boot camp," said Marine veteran Ernest Lutz, who drove two hours in pouring rain yesterday from his home in Chesapeake to pay respects.
Puller died in 1971 while living in Middlesex County.
The highway marker will be placed on state Route 33 in West Point, where Puller lived before enrolling at Virginia Military Institute.
It took a Marine's wife to spearhead the drive to install the marker. Jessica Drake's husband, Maj. Chad Drake, is serving in Iraq. Prior to their marriage 13 years ago, Jessica Drake had done her research by reading Puller's memoir and a biography.
"I thought they'd prepare me as a Marine wife," she said. What it did was cause her to revere Puller as much as any Marine, she said.
Drake was surprised to find no historical marker honoring Puller as she drove through West Point last December. When she got home, she contacted the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, which oversees the historical marker system, and the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, which co-sponsored the sign.
"America's great men come from small towns," Jessica Drake said. "West Point is small-town America -- they grew a great man."
This post and others make me so Proud to be an American!!
God Bless our Military!!
In Korea, Puller commander of the 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division
My dad was in Puller’s 1st Marine Div. in the Korean War at the Frozen Chosen and the Inchon Landing
Great post! BUMP!
“Chesty Puller said it first, only blood can quench our thirst!”
Here is the link to the actual article in the paper with a picture of the memorial. I tried to post the picture of the memorial but couldn’t for some reason.
So did Platoon 2076 in 1966....Chesty and a zillion others (the USMC is blessed with a ton of legendary members...). The amount of "classroom" time surprised me as a young boot.
" Yes Sir, we are surrounded, we have the enemy right where we want them."
Oh, if only we had a dozen like him today!
Was Chesty Puller’s son KIA in Nam?
My dad saw Puller several times while in the Korean War.
Still talks about him.
I live a few miles from MCRD, San Diego
Have more than a few relatives in the 1st Marine Div. now who have served in Iraq
‘Good night Chesty Puller, wherever you are.’
The last phrase uttered every night at lights out for Platoon 1065, PI, 1982.
He lost both legs and part of an arm. He committed suicide in 1994. His widow remarked that he should be remembered as a casualty of the war, because he never recovered.
“So they’ve got us surrounded, good! Now we can fire in any direction, those b*****ds won’t get away this time!”
CHESTY PULLER, USMC
“Was Chesty Pullers son KIA in Nam?”
No, He survived Nam, losing both his legs & most of his hands from a landmine but later committed suicide in 1994.
It always get me me when this is said about Chesty, because he also won a Distinguished Service Cross, the Army's second highest decoration! Puller is the only one who ever received the nation's second highest military decoration a total of six times.
If there was ever any American fighting man that deserved the Medal of Honor, it is Chest Puller.
No, his son was gravely wounded though.From what I remember his son killed himself some years back. Terrible shame too.
I look into the mans eyes and see love of country!!
Thanks for the Post!!