Current News – Chesty Puller’s Home

Chesty Puller USMC

Chesty Puller USMC

SALUDA, Va. — Some Marine veterans are on a mission to purchase the former home of one of the Marine Corps’ most revered generals.

When the group found out that Lt. Gen. Lewis Burwell “Chesty” Puller’s retirement home inSaluda had hit the market, they scrambled to both form a nonprofit and launch a GoFundMe site to raise the $400,000 needed to purchase it.

By contributing to help fund the purchase, former intelligence Marine Sgt. Maleesha Kovnesky, who is spearheading the effort as chair of the nonprofit, said supporters will be directly contributing to a place that will serve as a standing monument to other Marines.

“It’s the perfect place, perfect opportunity and perfect time to make sure there’s a place that fosters camaraderie (so) all Marines everywhere know they have a place to go and people who care,” she told Marine Corps Times.

Puller, who died in 1971 at the age of 73, had one of the most distinguished careers in the Marine Corps. He earned five Navy Crosses over his 37 years of service as well as many other combat decorations, campaign medals and unit commendations. He retired as a lieutenant general in 1955, but his legacy lives on, said Kovnesky, who served as an intel Marine and left the Corps in 2000.

The vets hope the 2,253 square-foot suburban house, built in the 1920s, becomes a self-funding venture over the years, with plans to hold events such as weddings, reunions and promotion or retirement ceremonies on the Puller grounds.

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“The intent of the house is to have a place for Marines to gather,” Kovnesky said. “It’s going to be a place available to Marines, kind of like a home base: If they can’t find anywhere to go, they’ll always have this.”

The group is running against the clock, however, to compete with other offers on the house. The Marine vets are also in the process of acquiring a bed and breakfast next door to the Puller family home, and the combined seven acres and nine bedrooms between the two properties could serve as a place of refuge for veterans in need, in addition to a venue for Marine events, according to the group.

“This will be a cultural point of reference for Marines to make sure something as iconic as Chesty Puller’s home does not fall by the wayside” said Anthony Pino, a former captain who worked as an air intel officer and now serves as the vice chairman of the nonprofit. “If it’s going to be saved for anything, it should be put to use for Marines.”

The drive to acquire the home is not just out of nostalgia for the general, however.

Pino recently lost a Marine friend, which prompted the group to seek practical means of reaching out and assisting fellow Marines.

In a suicide note posted on Facebook, Pino’s friend implored Marines to love and to take care of each other.

“His last line was ‘the door is unlocked,’ and so this is our attitude,” Pino said. “The idea that [Chesty’s] home would be used well before anyone ever gets to that point to take care of other Marines, I think that would make him happy.”

The group sees this as the natural continuation of Chesty Puller’s legacy.

Lewis Burwell Puller Jr., the Marine general’s less-well-known son, was severely wounded by a mine while serving as a lieutenant in Vietnam. He lost both legs and parts of his hands, and Chesty broke down sobbing when seeing him for the first time in the hospital.

On May 11, 1994, Lewis Puller Jr. died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

“Chesty was a human being just like the rest of us — he’s still with us and still helping people like he always did; he was a Marine’s Marine, and always looking out for the E-3 who needed help,” said board member and retired Gunnery Sgt. Teresa Carpenter. “This is not a bunch of hair-brained Marines getting together, drinking and saying ‘Hey, let’s buy Chesty Puller’s house!’ We’ve really sat down, talked this through and really worked on it.”

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The group has been able to provide earnest money for the home, but the immediate need is to secure funding to purchase it.

This last week they achieved the status of a pending nonprofit, which Pino said allows them to legally operate in good faith. They are currently working to open an account with a local bank to facilitate the purchase.

Pino said it feels like the group has “been building the plane while flying it,” but that they are committed to realizing its vision.

“We’re at the point now where we’re running the risk of the seller pulling out and going with someone else if we can’t produce soon,” Pino said. “We want to do this the right way.”

The property is currently selling for $395,000 and previously sold in February 2007 for $315,000, according to its listing on Zillow.

This information is from USA Today.

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Chesty Puller Humor – 

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  1. During one such conflict a ROK (Republic of Korea) commander, whose unit was fighting with the Marines, called legendary Marine (then Colonel) Chesty Puller to report a major Chinese attack in his sector.

    “How many Chinese are attacking you?” asked Puller.

    “Many, many Chinese!” replied the excited Korean officer.

    Puller asked for another count and got the same answer: “Many, many Chinese!”

    “#*#&*!#%!” swore Puller, “Put my Marine liaison officer on the radio.”

    In a minute, an American voice came over the air: “Yes, sir?”
    “Lieutenant,” growled Chesty, “exactly how many Chinese you got up there?”

    “Colonel, we got a whole ****load of Chinese up here!”

    “Thank God!” exclaimed Puller, “At least there’s someone up there who knows how to count!”

    Semper Fi,

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Farewell Salutes – 

Harold Abbott – Columbia, SC; USMC, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Gunnery Sgt (ret.)

Rhea Adams – South. Shores, NC; USMC, WWII, PTO

Gerard Cullen – Boston, MA; USMC, Korea

William Donovan Jr. – Quincy, MA; USMC, Afghanistan, 2 Purple Hearts

Harry Hagaman – Grand Junction, CO; USMC (Ret. 32 years), Korea, Vietnam, BrigGeneral

Susumu Ito – Wellesley, MA; US Army, WWII, ETO, 442 RCT, Lost Battalion Rescue, Congressional Gold Medal

John Jones – Wichita, KS; USMC, WWII

Manuel Martin Jr. – Fall River, MA; USMC, Korea, Vietnam, Purple Heart, Sgt. Major (Ret. 30 years)

Sheldon Sachs – Rochester, NY; USMC, WWII, PTO

Harold Swindell – Amarillo, TX; USMC, Korea, Vietnam, Captain (Ret. 30 years)

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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 October 8, 2015, in Current News, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 75 Comments.

  1. I certainly hope this works out for the Marines. It sounds like a great idea, but funding so often gets to be an issue as it needs to continue after the initial cost is satisfied. What a great tribute to Chesty Puller.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t usually include stories about any types of funding – even for myself. But this man was so loved and admired by his men, I felt those veterans should know about this. This marine was mentioned quite often when I did my Korean War posts. I hope it helps as well.

      Like

  2. All the best to the Marines in purchasing Chesty Pullers home, a great iconic centre piece for all Marines to recognize as a Home base.
    Chesty Puller certainly had a sense of humour, which only an Officer in the Marines could, with that snippet from his past re the Chinese count.
    Well done again gp, on a great informative post.

    Like

  3. Reblogged this on quirkywritingcorner and commented:
    I like his idea of counting.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great project. I’m hoping it get out far and wide and is successful. Love the Puller anecdote as well. Hope you are doing well these days…keep up the excellent work.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Good to think these combatants are not forgotten and neglected. All success to the venture.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A good cause, GP. Thanks for posting. –Curt

    Like

  7. A Marine’s Marine , for sure . The project seems especially appropriate and I hope it works out . Thanks for sharing.

    Like

  8. Great story. Hope all goes well.

    Like

  9. What a wonderful idea!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Toller Beitrag wünsche ein gutes weekend Gruß Gislinde

    Like

  11. Such a beautiful home, thank you for sharing.

    Like

  12. I’m passing this on to a Houston radio talk-show host who’s been deeply involved with Houston’s Camp Hope, a home that provides shelter, drug and suicide prevention counseling, and so on for veterans suffering from PTSD. His audience and social media following is huge, and I have no doubt this will get a mention or two. With luck, it will bring in some contributions, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t know quite how to thank you for passing this article on to such an audience. Every little bit contributed will help in the purchase. I’ve heard of Camp Hope and that is a very worthy cause.

      Like

  13. I met General Puller once. It was a short meeting. I said, “Good morning, General.” He answered, “Good morning, Sergeant.” Nevertheless, I am fortunate to have a connection to General Puller. My battalion commander in 1972, from whom I learned many useful things, was a corporal in Puller’s 1st Marines in Korea. He told me that it was so freezing cold along the perimeter that Marines actually thought they might freeze to death. The ground was frozen so hard that the best the Marines could do in preparing fighting positions was to scrape millimeters of ground away in order to make shallow pits —the only protection they had from enemy rifle fire. As the Marines made themselves as small as possible to avoid becoming casualties, bullets were snapping above their heads —and not too far above their heads, either. Wawrzyniak heard the sound of crunching off to his right, and looking over in that direction he saw a pair of combat boots standing there. Without knowing to whom he was speaking Wawrzyniak gruffly said, “Get down before some Chicom kills your dumb ass.” The man standing there was Chesty Puller, who responded gruffly, “There isn’t a communist bullet made capable of killing me.”

    Corporal Wawrzyniak (much later a Lieutenant Colonel) received two awards of the Navy Cross for his service in the Korean War. A “Puller kind of Marine,” with whom I was honored to serve.

    Liked by 2 people

    • What a great story, Mr. Madison! I thank you very much for sharing it. As I’ve told other people, I’ve never heard a bad word against Puller, a reall Marine’s Marine!! I appreciate you taking the time give us this tale!

      Like

  14. A real soldier in real wars, sounds like quite a man!

    Like

  15. What a fabulous plan! I do hope they’re able to pull it off.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. What a fantastic idea and hope that they can purchase the home. Great effort and so worthwhile!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Reblogged this on Masako and Spam Musubi and commented:
    Important stuff … unlike that bozo Jenner!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Beautiful post. People pulling together to secure a sacrament, a reminder that they continue to stand strong, as well as to offer homage as a site to be used for more festive venues as well.

    Gap Cox, I received a blog post today that I would like you to look at. Can you send me your direct site link to: grapevinetexas at dot me dot com?

    Thank you!

    Like

    • I think it would be easier if you just copied and pasted a link to it here. I would greatly appreciate that.

      Liked by 1 person

        • I don’t usually like to get into political discussions, mainly because I simply do not trust any politician – in either party! But it is true that Obama gets pretty hot under the collar when he’s disagreed with, enjoys making his own rules [simply because he can – no one seems strong enough to stop him] and has no idea what the military is for except to be his own chess men, moved on the board at his will. I, personally did not like the pres. the first 4 years, felt he was just not qualified and heard a few lies during his speeches, but ever since his re-election – I find his actions illogical, overly defensive and narcissistic. I hope I haven’t offended you in any way, but I am personally very concerned for this country. I will probably not live to see the end of the USA, but I worry for those younger than I.

          Liked by 2 people

  19. What a wonderful idea. Chesty PUller is up there with Eugene Fluckey on my list of amazing military minds.

    Like

  20. What a wonderful man.

    Marcey

    Like

  21. Great mission! I will spread the word for contributions.

    Like

  22. That sounds like a great way to make use of this beautiful house.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Reblogged this on I Married An Angel and commented:
    Here’s a tiny opportunity to do something very big.

    Oorah!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. What a great project. That seems like an amazingly reasonable price for the property. Hope it all works out.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. I really hope that this worthy venture succeeds.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. This looks like a great thing to do for all the marines over there. I am sure that they will raise the money soon, and hope that they achieve their goal.I have no doubt that Chesty would approve too.
    (Funny anecdotes indeed!)
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. What an awesome effort to memorialize the home one of my personal favorite Marine Generals of all time. While in the USMC, Chesty’s legacy and shadow loomed large..he inspired so many Marines to keep charging forward. Semper Fi Chesty!

    Liked by 2 people

  1. Pingback: My Article Read (10-8-2015) | My Daily Musing

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