We Call Him Chesty

GP Cox:

Chesty Puller

Chesty Puller


A strong name and a “man’s man” known by some and should be honored by all, is talked about by Mustang on his Fixed Bayonets site. Come join the rest of us in reading about Chesty Puller, USMC.

Originally posted on Fix Bayonets:

In my younger years, conventional parents and teachers encouraged boys and girls to read stories written about famous Americans.  I recall reading about William Penn, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett, Kit Carson, George Custer, Ulysses Grant, and Robert E. Lee.  They weren’t academically vetted manuscripts, of course —they were intended for elementary aged children, after all.  It is also true that some of these stories contained as much myth as fact, but it was the reading of these stories that gave children heroes —people who were, according to pre-communist educators, worthy of emulation.

VMI 1917I am not alone, apparently.  Another young man was exposed to these kinds of stories.  His name was Lewis Burwell Puller.  He was born in West Point, Virginia on 26 June 1898 —making him a little more than 8 years younger than my grandfather.  He grew up reading the same kinds of…

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on April 12, 2014, in Korean War, Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 27 Comments.

  1. Both my older brothers suffered diminished mental capabilities and joined the Marines. I, of course, being of superior intellect joined the Army. However they learned the lessons of Chesty quite well and repeated them often. They wioll always be Marines while I simply served in the Army. Thanks for the story.


    • Cute, George. Nothing like a little inter-service rivalry there. ;) Glad you enjoyed your visit here and thanks for commenting. Glad to see you’re still around with your site!


  2. His is a great story. Love his quote– “They are in front of us, behind us, and we are flanked on both sides by an enemy that outnumbers us 29:1. They can’t get away from us now!” I’ve heard it stated different ways–or by different people. Sure speaks volumes.

    His son’s story is no less amazing. Retold in ‘Fortunate Son’–after losing both legs and a career as the son of the greatest Marine, he remained positive. Almost to the end.


  3. First, thank you very much for re-blogging. I am both honored and humbled.

    Mr. Hennessey’s comment reminded me of this anecdote to (then) Colonel Puller in Korea, told to me as a first-hand account by one of my mentors, LtCol Stan Wawrzyniak, USMC (Deceased), himself the recipient of two Navy Cross medals. At the time, Wawrzyniak was a sergeant with the 7th Marines, who along with the 5th Marines were folding into and extending the perimeter established by Puller’s 1st Marines at Hagaru.

    Wawrzyniak and his rifle squad were doing there best to prepare a defensive position, the ground was frozen, and the E-tools were only making scant of process. A shallow depression was all they hoped for. Stan told me that all of a sudden they began to receive concentrated fire. As the Marines lay in their shallow positions, the snap of enemy rounds passing mere inches over their heads motivated them to sink even deeper into the frozen soil. It was then that Stan noticed a pair of combat boots off to his left, and he shouted to that Marine, “Hey you dumb bastard … get down before you get shot.”

    A gravely voice responded, “There hasn’t been a communist bullet made that can kill me.” It was Colonel Puller doing his job, leading from the front, observing enemy activity outside his perimeter. Stan told me that his presence on their line made the Marines into sterner stuff … and they knew right then that there was no way any Chinese would get through their lines.


    • An outstanding account, Mustang! Thank you for including it here! I was more than my pleasure to reblog this post, the more I hear about Puller, the more I am amazed!


  4. “We’ve been looking for the enemy for some time now. We’ve finally found him. We’re surrounded. That simplifies things.” What a brilliant quote! It just says everything about the total commitment of the man.


    • Knowing where the Chinese troops were had to be an unusual situation, so he went to work with what he knew – yes, quite a man. Thanks for coming by and commenting.


  5. Indeed, hero stories or characters stir our imagination and encourage aspirations and ambitions … determination to feel like a hero of own personal life at least … it’s a shame that many heroes of yesteryear largely remain unnoticed by today’s young…new heroes are few, not that strong and whistle away like the wind…new “heroes” emerging with consumer society … what a shame :(


    • Very good point, Ina. The heroes for the younger generation seem to miss the boat, in my opinion. They become ‘heroes’ for the wrong reasons and even then can’t keep up the persona.


  6. One of the things the Marines loved him for was that he was always up among them at the front and not somewhere at command post in the rear . Amazing that he wasn’t killed or more seriously hurt .


  7. The quintessential soldier! A distinguished career, indeed. He certainly got around.


    • He most certainly did and his men loved him too – quite a combination. I mentioned him a while ago in my book review of “Hey Mac, Where Ya Been?” and MacArthur’s high regard for him as well. Thanks for coming by, you’re a loyal friend.


  8. If Chesty were commanding today, he would have been mustered out by our latest Commander in Chief as being too much a Marine.


  9. What an amazing story! But, then, all of these stories are about amazing people! ;)


    • Yes, Linda they are. Even the ones that were “just doing their job”. I think it takes a lot just to put on the uniform – especially during a war or for a career.


  10. A fascinating read! I thought I knew about him, but I found out I actually knew very little.


  11. A great story of a great man, who worked his way up through the ranks.
    I must agree that he has similarities to Charles Bronson.


  12. He looks like a cross between Martin Sheen and Charles Bronson (the actor not the murderer)!


  13. Thanks for the pingback. Puller deserves all the recognition we can give him! I appreciate it, Gunny.


  1. Pingback: THE MARINE’S MARINE: LESSER-KNOWN STORIES, ETC… “Best Remembered Words… Of General “Chesty” Puller USMC According To GyG!” | CLINGERS... BLOGGING BAD ~ DICK.G: AMERICAN !

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