Lieutenant General Lewis "Chesty" Burwell Puller

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Lieutenant General Lewis "Chesty" Burwell Puller

Post  EricCuevas41 on Sun Sep 30, 2012 5:56 pm

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Three Star Lieutenant General Lewis "Chesty" Burwell Puller, colorful veteran of the Korean fighting, four World War II campaigns and expeditionary service in China, Nicaragua and Haiti, was the most decorated Marine in the Corps(pronounced core), and the only Marine ever to win the Navy Cross five times for heroism and gallantry in action. Promoted to his final rank and placed on the temporary disability retired list 1 November 1955, he died on 11 October 1971 in Hampton, Virginia after a long illness. A Marine officer and enlisted man for 37 years, General Puller served at sea or overseas for all but ten of those years. Excluding medals from foreign governments, he won a total of 14 personal decorations in combat, plus a long list of campaign medals, unit citation ribbons, and other awards. In addition to his Navy Crosses (the second-highest decoration to the Medal of Honor for Naval personnel).
Born 26 June 1898, at West Point, Virginia, the general attended Virginia Military Institute until enlisting in the Marine Corps in August 1918. He was appointed a Marine Reserve second lieutenant 16 June 1919, but due to the reduction of the Marine Corps after World War I, was placed on inactive duty ten days later. He rejoined the Marines as an enlisted man that month to serve as an officer.After almost five years in Haiti, where he saw frequent action against the Caco rebels, General Puller returned to the United States in March 1924. He was commissioned a Marine second lieutenant that same month, and during the next two years, served at the Marine Barracks, Norfolk, Virginia, completed the Basic School at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and served with the 10th Marines at Quantico, Virginia. He was then detailed to duty as a naval aviator at Pensacola, Florida, in February 1926. In July of that year, the general embarked for a two-year tour of duty at the Marine Barracks, Pearl Harbor. Returning in June 1928, he served at San Diego, California, until he joined the Nicaraguan National Guard Detachment that December. After earning his first Navy Cross in Nicaragua he returned to the United States in July 1931, to enter the Company Officers Course at the Army Infantry School, Fort Benning, Georgia. He completed the course in June 1932, and returned to Nicaragua the following month to begin the tour of duty which brought him his second Navy Cross.A month later he sailed from San Francisco to join the Marine Detachment of the American Legation at Peiping, China. Without coming back to the United States he began a tour of sea duty in September 1934, as commanding officer of the Marine Detachment aboard the USS Augusta of the Asiatic Fleet. In June 1936, he returned to the United States to become an instructor in the Basic School at Philadelphia. He left there in May 1939, to serve another years as commander of the Augusta's Marine detachment, and from that ship, joined the 4th Marines at Shanghai, China, in May 1940. After serving as a battalion executive and commanding officer with the 4th Marines, General Puller sailed for the United States in August 1941, just four months before the attack on Pearl Harbor. In September he took command of the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division, at Camp Lejeune. That regiment was detached from the 1st Division in March 1942, and the following month, as part of the 3d Marine Brigade, it sailed for the Pacific theater. The 7th Marines rejoined the 1st Marine Division in September 1942, and General Puller, still commanding its 1st Battalion, went on to earn his third Navy Cross at Guadalcanal.The action which brought him that medal occurred on the night of 24-25 October 1942. For a desperate three hours his battalion, stretched over a mile-long front. After Guadalcanal the general became executive officer of the 7th Marines. He was fighting in that capacity when he won his forth Navy Cross at Cape Gloucester in January 1944. In February 1944, General Puller took command of the 1st Marines at Cape Gloucester. After leading that regiment for the remainder of the campaign, he sailed with it for the Russell Islands in April 1944, and went on from there to command it at Peleliu in September and October 1944. He returned to the United States in November 1944, was named executive officer of the Infantry Training Regiment at Camp Lejeune in January 1945, and took command of that regiment the next month. In August 1946, General Puller became Director of the 8th Marine Corps Reserve District, with headquarters at New Orleans, Louisiana. After that assignment he commended the Marine Barracks at Pearl Harbor until August 1950, when he arrived at Camp Pendleton, California, to re-establish and take command of the 1st Marines, the same regiment he had led at Cape Gloucester and Peleliu. Landing with the 1st Marines at Inchon, Korea, in September 1950 he continued to head that regiment until January 1951, when he was promoted to brigadier general and named Assistant Commander of the 1st Marine Division. That May he returned to Camp Pendleton to command the newly reactivated 3d Marine Brigade, which was redesignated the 3d Marine Division in January 1952. After that, he was Assistant Division Commander until he took over the Troop Training Unit. He was promoted to major general in September 1953, and in July 1954, assumed command of the 2d Marine Division at Camp Lejeune. Despite his illness he retained that command until February 1955, when he was appointed Deputy Camp Commander. He served in that capacity until August, when he entered the U.S. Naval Hospital at Camp Lejeune prior to retirement. After his death in October 1971, he was buried in a family plot at the Christi's Church Cemetery, Middlesex County, Virginia.
The Lieutenant General is a huge role in the history of the United States Marine Corps. He saved many lives and fought for the freedom of his country. I have an infinante amount of respect for this Hero. Though he is not here to see it his legend and story will live on forever. Lewis "Chesty" Burwell Puller made a difference and wasn't just another "Jarhead". He inspires me to make a difference when I join the Marine Corps. Do you think he was hero or just another "Jarhead"?


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