The Military Needs More Chesty Pullers

Lt. Gen. Lewis B Puller may have been the most decorated Marine in history, with five Navy crosses, two Legions of Merit, a silver star, and a distinguished service cross, but he was also colorful. He didn’t have an earring or any other modern mark of distinction, but he had a way with words. The US Military needs more Chesty Pullers right now, and less wokesters.

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The following area few of his more famous quotes:

  • “What American people want to do is fight a war without getting hurt. You can’t do that anymore than you get into a barroom fight without getting hurt…”
  • “We’re surrounded. That simplifies the problem.”
  • “Hit hard, hit fast, hit often.”
  • “The safest place in Korea was right behind a platoon of Marines. Lord, how they could fight. The Reds told us they were afraid to tangle with the marines and avoided them when they could be located.”
  • “Retreat!…we’re just attacking in a different direction.”
  • “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!”
  • “All right, they’re on our left, they’re on our right, they’re in front of us, they’re behind us…they can’t get away this time.”
  • “Great. Now we can shoot at those bastards from every direction.”
  • “We make generals today on the basis of their ability to write a damned letter. Those kinds of men can’t get us ready for war.”
  • “We’ve been looking for the enemy for some time now. We’ve finally found him. We’re surrounded. That simplifies things.”
  • “Don’t forget that you’re First Marines! Not all the Communists in hell can overrun you!”

Chesty Puller was born June 26,1898 and died October 11,1971. He served at the Choisin Reservoir in Korea. He served in the jungles of Nicaragua and Haiti. Even at Guadalcanal in WWII, he always fought with his men, and he never accepted defeat. One of the men he recommended for an MOH was John Basilone. Chesty never received one.

Colorized photo from Pinterest

Letting down a Marine was, in Puller’s words, the worst thing you could do as a Marine. And when the stuff hit the fan, he really lived those words. At Guadalcanal, three companies of his Marines were cut off from the main force by a much larger Japanese force. Marines tried to break through to them, but some believed they were lost.

Nope. Puller went out to the beach to flag down the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Ballard and organized a relief force to land on the beach again. He also coordinated the destroyer’s guns to shell the Japanese, allowing the trapped Marines enough latitude to make an escape. A week later, Chesty and his Marines came back to this part of the island and wiped out the Japanese defenders… (Blake Stilwell)

Being outnumbered didn’t phase Chesty Puller, even in the Korean War.

Looking at a potential combat death in the face didn’t stop at Inchon. When the Marines advanced within mere miles of the Yalu River, North Korea’s border with China, the Chinese intervened. A massive force of Communist soldiers surrounded the Marines at the Chosin Reservoir. Massively outnumbered, Puller was quoted as saying, “We’ve been looking for the enemy for some time now. We’ve finally found him. We’re surrounded. That simplifies things.” (Blake Stilwell)

When we look back at the caliber of leadership from wars past, it makes us wonder if the modern military is better. Yes, we have our heroes who save lives, and they are especially precious. We have technology designed to save even more lives. But there is something worth honor of a man like Chesty Puller for never giving up, for never accepting defeat, for caring about his men so intensely. Happy Birthday, Chesty Puller, wherever you are.


Featured Photo: USMC LT Gen Lewis B “Chesty” Puller. Read his biography at this link.

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