Biography

Puller, Lewis Burwell ("Chesty")
[Col CO 1stMR]

biography

1st MR

 

The Colonel found an old friend, Major W.C. Reeves, whom he had known in Nicaragua; this old-timer came in with the regulars from Lejeune, and was soon Puller’s adjutant. Most of the officers around Puller were new to him: Lieutenant Colonels Robert Rickert, his executive officer, and the battalion commanders, Thomas L. Ridge, Allan Sutter and Jack Hawkins.

 

biography

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Chesty Puller

biography

 

biography

 

(What is the one on the far right bottom?)   biography

biography

MajGen Lewis Burwell "Chesty" Puller medals

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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1 Navy Cross
with four gold award stars
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2 Distinguished Service Cross biography biography

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3 Silver Star biography biography

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4 Legions of Merit
with one gold award star
and Valor device
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5 Bronze Star
with Valor device
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6 Air Medal with two Gold Stars biographybiography
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7 Purple Heart biography biography

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8 Presidential Unit Citation
with four bronze stars
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9 Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal
with bronze star
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10 Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal
with one bronze star
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11 World War I Victory Medal
with West Indies clasp
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12 Haitian Campaign Medal biography biography

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13 Second Nicaraguan Campaign Medal biography
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14 China Service Medal biography biography
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15 American Defense Service Medal
with Base Clasp
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16 American Campaign Medal biography biography

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17 Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
with four bronze stars
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18 World War II Victory Medal biography biography

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19 National Defense Service Medal biography biography

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20 Korean War Service Medal
with one silver star
in lieu of five bronze stars
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21 Haitian Medaille Militaire biography biography
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22 Nicaraguan Presidential Medal of Merit with Diploma biography  
23 Nicaraguan Cross of Valor with Diploma biography
24 Republic of Korea Ulchi Medal
with Gold Star
Order of Military Merit (Korea)
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25 Chinese Order of the Cloud and Banner
with Special Cravat
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26 Korea Presidential Unit Citation with bronze star biography  
27 United Nations Service Medal, Korea biography biography
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Lieutenant General
LEWIS B. PULLER, USMC
(DECEASED)

Lewis Burwell Puller

biography
  • The general holds the 

    1. Navy Cross with Gold Stars in lieu of four additional awards;  biography

    2. the Army Distinguished Service Cross;  biography

    3. the Army Silver Star Medal;  biography

    4. the Legion of Merit with Combat "V" and Gold Star in lieu of a second award;  biography

    5. the Bronze Star Medal;  biography

    6. the Air Medal with Gold Stars in lieu of second and third awards; biography and 

    7. the Purple Heart Medal.  biography

  • His other medals and decorations include the 

    1. Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon with four bronze stars;  biography

    2. the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal with one bronze star;  biography

    3. the World War I Victory Medal with West Indies clasp;  biography

    4. the Haitian Campaign Medal;  biography

    5. the Second Nicaraguan Campaign Medal;  biography

    6. the Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal with one bronze star;  biography

    7. the China Service Medal;  biography

    8. the American Defense Service Medal with Base clasp; biography

    9. the American Area Campaign Medal;  biography

    10. the Asiatic-Pacific Area Campaign Medal with four bronze stars;  biography

    11. the World War II Victory Medal;  biography

    12. the National Defense Service Medal;  biography

    13. the Korean Service Medal with one silver star in lieu of five bronze stars;  biography

    14. the United Nations Service Medal;  biography

    15. the Haitian Medaille Militaire; (Legion of Honour) biography

    16. the Nicaraguan Presidential Medal of Merit with Diplomabiography

    17. the Nicaraguan Cross of Valor with Diploma

    18. (Order of Military Merit)   biography
    19. the Republic of Korea's Ulchi Medal with Gold Star; and  biography

    20. the Korean Presidential Unit Citation
      with Oak Leaf Cluster. biography

Biography

Lewis Burwell Puller

Biography

Puller USMC

Col. Lewis B. Puller

biography

biography

biography

biography

Puller, Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller USMC

buried in a family plot at the Christi's Church Cemetery,

Middlesex County, Virginia.

Medal and Decorations:

In addition to his Navy Crosses (the next-highest decoration to the Medal of Honor for Naval personnel), he holds its Army equivalent, the Distinguished Service Cross.


the Navy Cross with Gold Stars in lieu of four additional awards

the Army Distinguished Service Cross

the Army Silver Star Medal

the Legion of Merit with Combat "V" and Gold Star in lieu of a second award

the Bronze Star Medal

the Air Medal with Gold Stars in lieu of second and third awards

and the Purple Heart Medal

His other medals and decorations include the

Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon with four bronze stars

the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal with one bronze star

the World War I Victory Medal with West Indies clasp

the Haitian Campaign Medal

the Second Nicaraguan Campaign Medal

the Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal with one bronze star

the China Service Medal

the American Defense Service Medal with Base clasp

the American Area Campaign Medal

the Asiatic-Pacific Area Campaign Medal with four bronze stars

the World War II Victory Medal

the National Defense Service Medal

the Korean Service Medal with one silver star in lieu of five bronze stars

the United Nations Service Medal

the Haitian Medaille Militaire

the Nicaraguan Presidential Medal of Merit with Diploma

the Nicaraguan Cross of Valor with Diploma

the Republic of Korea's Ulchi Medal with Gold Star

and the Korean Presidential Unit Citation with Oak Leaf Cluster

 Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller was born in West Point, Virginia to Matthew and Martha Puller. His father was a grocer who died when Lewis was 10 years old. Puller grew up listening to old veterans’ tales of the War Between the States and idolizing Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. He wanted to enlist in the United States Army to fight in the Border Wars with Mexico in 1916, but he was too young and could not get parental consent from his mother.

The following year, Puller attended the Virginia Military Institute but left at the end of his first year as World War I was still ongoing, saying that he wanted to “go where the guns are!” Inspired by the 5th Marines at the Battle of Belleau Wood, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps as a private and attended boot camp at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina.

Although he never saw action in that war, the Corps was expanding, and soon after graduating he attended NCO school and OCS at Quantico, Virginia, following that. Upon graduation from OCS on June 16, 1919, Puller was appointed to the grade of Second Lieutenant in the Military reserves, but reduction in force from 73,000 to 1,100 officers and 27,400 men following the war led to his being put on inactive status 10 days later and given the rank of corporal.

 

biography

First Lieutenant Lewis “Chesty” Puller (center left) and Sergeant William “Ironman” Lee (center right) and two Nicaraguan soldiers in 1931

Banana Wars

 

As a corporal, Puller received orders to serve in the Gendarmerie d’Haiti as a lieutenant, seeing action in the United States occupation of Haiti (1915-1934). While the United States was working under a treaty with Haiti, he participated in over forty engagements during the ensuing five years against the Cacos rebels and attempted to regain his commission as an officer twice. In 1922, he served as an Adjutant to Major Alexander Vandegrift, a future Commandant of the Marine Corps.

Puller returned stateside and was finally re-commissioned as a second lieutenant on March 6, 1924, afterward completing assignments at the Marine Barracks in Norfolk, Virginia, The Basic School in Quantico, Virginia, and with the 10th Marine Regiment in Quantico, Virginia. He was assigned to the Marine Barracks at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in July 1926 and in San Diego, California, in 1928.

In December 1928, Puller was assigned to the Nicaraguan “Guardia Nacional” National Guard detachment, where he was awarded his first Navy Cross, (military’s second highest valor award) for his actions from February 16 to August 19, 1930, when he led “five successive engagements against superior numbers of armed bandit forces.” He returned stateside in July 1931 and completed the year-long Company Officers Course at Fort Benning, Georgia, thereafter returning to Nicaragua from September 20 to October 1, 1932, and was awarded a second Navy Cross. biography

Puller with members of the Guardia Nacional

After his service in Nicaragua, Puller was assigned to the Marine detachment at the American Legation in Beijing, China, commanding a unit of China Marines. He then went on to serve aboard USS Augusta (CA-31), a Cruiser in the Asiatic Fleet, which was commanded by then-Captain Chester W. Nimitz. Puller returned to the States in June 1936 as an instructor at the Basic School in Philadelphia.

In May 1939, he returned to the Augusta as commander of the onboard Marine detachment, and then back to China, disembarking in Shanghai in May 1940 to serve as the executive officer of 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines. He later served as its commanding officer.

World War II

Major Puller returned to the U.S. on August 28, 1941. After a short leave, he was given command of 1st Battalion, 7th Marines (known as 1/7) of the 1st Marine Division, stationed at Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina, the new Marine amphibious base which would soon be renamed for the 13th Commandant of the Marine Corps, John A. Lejeune, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Early in the Pacific theater the 7th Marines formed the nucleus of the newly created 3rd Marine Brigade and arrived to defend Samoa on May 8, 1942. Later they were redeployed from the brigade and on September 4, 1942, they left Samoa and rejoined the 1st Division at Guadalcanal on September 18, 1942.biography

Soon after arriving on Guadalcanal, Puller led his battalion in a fierce action along the Matanikau (September 1942), in which Puller’s quick thinking saved three of his companies from annihilation. In the action, these companies were surrounded and cut off by a larger Japanese force. Puller ran to the shore, signaled a United States Navy destroyer, the USS Monssen (DD-436), and then Puller directed the destroyer to provide fire support while landing craft rescued his Marines from their precarious position. For his actions, he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V”.

Puller on Guadalcanal in September, 1942

Later on Guadalcanal, Puller was awarded his third Navy Cross, in what was later known as the Battle for Henderson Field. Puller commanded 1st Battalion 7th Marines (1/7), one of two American infantry units defending the airfield against a regiment strength Japanese force. The 3rd Battalion of the U.S. Army’s 164th Infantry Regiment (3/164) fought alongside the Marines. In a firefight on the night of October 24–25, 1942, lasting about three hours, 1/7 and 3/164 sustained 70 casualties; the Japanese force suffered over 1,400 killed in action, and the Americans held the airfield. It was in this battle that Marine Sergeant John Basilone would earn the Medal of Honor. The Marines awarded Army Lt. Colonel Robert Hall, commander of the 3/164, the Navy Cross for his role in this battle.

Puller was then made executive officer of the 7th Marine Regiment. While serving in this capacity at Cape Gloucester, Puller was awarded his fourth Navy Cross for overall performance of duty between December 26, 1943, and January 19, 1944. During this time, when the battalion commanders of 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines and, later, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, while under heavy machine gun and mortar fire, he expertly reorganized the battalion and led the successful attack against heavily fortified Japanese defensive positions. He was promoted to colonel effective February 1, 1944, and by the end of the month had been named commander of the 1st Marine Regiment. Colonel Puller would lead the 1st Marines into the protracted battle on Battle of Peleliu, one of the bloodiest battles in Marine Corps history during September and October 1944, action where he was awarded his first Legion of Merit. During the summer of 1944, Puller’s younger brother, Samuel D. Puller, the Executive Officer of the 4th Marine Regiment, was killed by a sniper on Guam.

Puller returned to the United States in November 1944, was named executive officer of the Infantry Training Regiment at Camp Lejeune and, two weeks later, Commanding Officer. After the war, he was made Director of the 8th Reserve District at New Orleans, and later commanded the Marine Barracks at Pearl Harbor.

Korean War

June 25, 1950

On June 25, 1950, North Korean troops poured across the 38th Parallel in strength and war had returned.  President Truman announced that the nation was not at war, but ships, planes and men were in motion, and in the gathering of “a fire brigade,” a token force of Marines was sent to the front to aid American Army forces.  The United Nations buzzed briefly before taking action; Puller recognized all the signs.  He immediately asked for a modification of his orders and said urgently to Headquarters:

“Attention is invited to the fact that I served as an officer in Haiti and Nicaragua, and in the Pacific Theater for eight years prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.  This experience will prove of value in an assignment to combat duty in Korea.”

 

This was not enough, and he went to the cable office and at his own expense sent appeals to the Commandant, the Assistant Commandant, and the commander of the First Marine Division, begging for assignment to Korea.  The cables cost him nineteen dollars.

 

biographyColonel Puller cutting the Marine Corps birthday cake on 10 November 1950, during a brief reprieve from battle during the Korean War

At the outbreak of the Korean War, Puller was once again assigned as commander of the 1st Marine Regiment, with which he made a landing at Inchon on September 15, 1950, and was awarded the Silver Star Medal. For leadership from September 15 to November 2, he was awarded his second Legion of Merit. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross from the Army for action from November 29 to December 5 of that same year, and his fifth Navy Cross for action during December 5–10 at the Battle of Chosin Reservoir. It was during that battle when he made the famous quote, “We’ve been looking for the enemy for some time now. We’ve finally found him. We’re surrounded. Thbiographyat simplifies things.”

Colonel Puller studies the terrain during the Korean War.

In January 1951, Puller was promoted to brigadier general and was assigned duty as assistant division commander (ADC) of the 1st Marine Division. On February 24, however, his immediate superior, Major General Oliver Prince Smith, was hastily transferred to command IX Corps when its Army commander, Major General Bryant Moore, died. Smith’s temporary transfer left Puller in command of his beloved 1st Marine Division. Puller would serve as ADC until he completed his tour of duty and left for the United States on May 20, 1951.

General Puller subsequently received promotions to major general and lieutenant general, and served in various command capacities until he suffered a stroke from high blood pressure and was forced to retire in 1955.

Puller was a distant cousin to Army General George S. Patton.

He requested to re-enlist so he could serve in Vietnam in 1966, at the age of 68, however, his request was denied because of his age. General Puller was living in Hampton, Virginia at the time of his passing on October 11, 1971, he was 73 years of age.

Awards and honors – Military decorations and awards

Puller received the Navy Cross, the Navy and Marine Corps second highest military award, five times (the second and only other person to be so honored, after Navy submarine commander Roy Milton Davenport). Puller received the second highest U.S. military award six times; five Navy Crosses and a U.S. Army Distinguished Service Cross.

In addition, Puller received the Silver Star Medal; the Legion of Merit with Combat “V” and Gold Star in lieu of a second award; the Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V;” the Air Medal with Gold Stars in lieu of second and third awards; and the Purple Heart Medal. His other medals and decorations include the Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon with four bronze stars; the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal with one bronze star; the World War I Victory Medal with West Indies clasp; the Haitian Campaign Medal; the Second Nicaraguan Campaign Medal; the Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal with one bronze star; the China Service Medal; the American Defense Service Medal with Base clasp; the American Area Campaign Medal; the Asiatic-Pacific Area Campaign Medal with four bronze stars; the World War II Victory Medal; the National Defense Service Medal; the Korean Service Medal with one silver star in lieu of five bronze stars; the United Nations Service Medal; the Haitian Medaille Militaire; the Nicaraguan Presidential Medal of Merit with Diploma; the Nicaraguan Cross of Valor with Diploma; the Republic of Korea’s Ulchi Medal with Gold Star; and the Korean Presidential Unit Citation with Oak Leaf Cluster.

Puller’s only Purple Heart was earned at Guadalcanal on the night of November 9, 1942 – the night before the Marine Corps Birthday. Puller had campaign participation credit (“battle stars”) for Capture and Defense of Guadalcanal, Eastern New Guinea Operations, Cape Gloucester New Britain, and Capture and Occupation of the Southern Palau Islands (Peleliu). His Korean campaign battle stars include North Korean Aggression, Inchon Landing, Communist China Aggression (Chosin Reservoir), First UN Counteroffensive and Communist China Spring Offensive.

Puller is loved by enlisted U.S. Marines for his constant actions to improve their working conditions. Puller insisted upon good equipment and discipline; once he came upon a second lieutenant who had ordered an enlisted man to salute him 100 times for missing a salute. Puller told the lieutenant, “You were absolutely correct in making him salute you 100 times lieutenant, but you know that an officer must return every salute he receives. Now return them all, and I will keep count.”

He continues to be well loved by those who served under him and after him, because he led from the front and never asked a Marine to do anything he would not do first.  It is rumored that he continues to motivate Marines and Recruits at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina, where at night you can hear them respectfully say “Good Night, General Chesty, wherever you are.”

LIEUTENANT GENERAL LEWIS B. PULLER, USMC (DECEASED)

 Lieutenant General Lewis Burwell Puller, colorful veteran of the Korean fighting, four World War II campaigns and expeditionary service in China, Nicaragua and Haiti, was one of the most decorated Marines in the Corps, and the only Leatherneck 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."

Hatai

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 on the 30th of that month, to serve as an officer in the Gendarmerie d'Haiti, a military force set up in that country under a treaty with the United States. Most of its officers were U.S. Marines, while its enlisted personnel were Haitians. 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."

Niger

Nicaragua

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."

china

In January 1933, General Puller left Nicaragua for the west coast of the United States. A month later he sailed from San Francisco to join the Marine Detachment of the American Legation at Peiping, China. There, in addition to other duties, he commanded the famed "Horse Marines." 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."

WWII

Puller also fought with the 1st Marine Division in the World War II campaigns on Guadalcanal, Eastern New Guinea, Camp Gloucester and Peleliu, earning his third Navy Cross and the Bronze Star and Purple Heart Medals at Guadalcanal, his fourth Navy Cross at Cape Gloucester, and his first Legion of Merit with Combat "V" at Peleliu. "

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 October 24-25, 1942. For a desperate three hours his battalion, stretched over a mile-long front, was the only defense between vital Henderson Airfield and a regiment of seasoned Japanese troops. In pouring jungle rain the Japanese smashed repeatedly at his thin line, as General Puller moved up and down its length to encourage his men and direct the defense. After reinforcements arrived he commanded the augmented force until late the next afternoon. The defending Marines suffered less than 70 casualties in the engagement, while 1,400 of the enemy were killed and 17 truckloads of Japanese equipment were recovered by the Americans."

after the war

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. When the commanders of two battalions were wounded, he took over their units and moved through heavy machine gun and mortar fire to reorganize them for attack, then led them in taking a strongly-fortified enemy position. 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." --

Korea

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 Inch'ŏn, 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, Pacific, at Coronado, California, that June. 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." --

A Marine officer and enlisted man for 37 years, General Puller served at sea or overseas for all but ten of those years, including a hitch as commander of the "Horse Marines" in China. 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 next-highest decoration to the Medal of Honor for Naval personnel), he holds its Army equivalent, the Distinguished Service Cross. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and his fifth Navy Cross for heroism in action as commander of the 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division, during the bitter fight to break out of Korea's Chosin Reservoir area. The latter citation, covering the period from December 5 to 10, 1950, states in part: "Fighting continuously in sub-zero weather against a vastly outnumbering hostile force, (the then) Colonel Puller drove off repeated and fanatical enemy attacks upon his Regimental defense sector and supply points. Although the area was frequently covered by grazing machine gun fire and intense artillery and mortar fire, he coolly moved among his troops to insure their correct tactical employment, reinforced the lines as the situation demanded and successfully defended his perimeter, keeping open the main supply routes for the movement of the Division. "During the attack from Koto-ri to Hungman, he expertly utilized his Regiment as the Division rear guard, repelling two fierce enemy assaults which severely threatened the security of the unit, and personally supervised the care and prompt evacuation of all casualties. "By his unflagging determination, he served to inspire his men to heroic efforts in defense of their positions and assured the safety of much valuable equipment which would otherwise have been lost to the enemy. His skilled leadership, superb courage and valiant devotion to duty in the face of overwhelming odds reflect the highest credit upon Colonel Puller and the United States Naval Service. " Serving in Korea from September 1950 to April 1951, the general also earned the Army Silver Star Medal in the Inch'ŏn landing, his second Legion of Merit with Combat "V" in the Inch'ŏn-Sŏul fighting and the early phases of the Chosin Reservoir campaign, and three Air Medals for reconnaissance and liaison flights over enemy territory." --

last

"The general's last active duty station was Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, where he was commanding the 2d Marine Division when he became seriously ill in August 1954. After that he served as Deputy Camp Commander until his illness forced him to retire." --

As already mentioned, the general holds the Navy Cross with Gold Stars in lieu of four additional awards; the Army Distinguished Service Cross; the Army Silver Star Medal; the Legion of Merit with Combat "V" and Gold Star in lieu of a second award; the Bronze Star Medal; the Air Medal with Gold Stars in lieu of second and third awards; and the Purple Heart Medal. His other medals and decorations include the Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon with four bronze stars; the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal with one bronze star; the World War I Victory Medal with West Indies clasp; the Haitian Campaign Medal; the Second Nicaraguan Campaign Medal; the Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal with one bronze star; the China Service Medal; the American Defense Service Medal with Base clasp; the American Area Campaign Medal; the Asiatic-Pacific Area Campaign Medal with four bronze stars; the World War II Victory Medal; the National Defense Service Medal; the Korean Service Medal with one silver star in lieu of five bronze stars; the United Nations Service Medal; the Haitian Medaille Militaire; the Nicaraguan Presidential Medal of Merit with Diploma; the Nicaraguan Cross of Valor with Diploma; the Republic of Korea's Ulchi Medal with Gold Star; and the Korean Presidential Unit Citation with Oak Leaf Cluster. " -- biographybiographybiographybiographybiography

June 25, 1950

On June 25, 1950, North Korean troops poured across the 38th Parallel in strength and war had returned.  President Truman announced that the nation was not at war, but ships, planes and men were in motion, and in the gathering of “a fire brigade,” a token force of Marines was sent to the front to aid American Army forces.  The United Nations buzzed briefly before taking action; Puller recognized all the signs.  He immediately asked for a modification of his orders and said urgently to Headquarters:

“Attention is invited to the fact that I served as an officer in Haiti and Nicaragua, and in the Pacific Theater for eight years prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.  This experience will prove of value in an assignment to combat duty in Korea.”

 

This was not enough, and he went to the cable office and at his own expense sent appeals to the Commandant, the Assistant Commandant, and the commander of the First Marine Division, begging for assignment to Korea.  The cables cost him nineteen dollars.

 

In the days of waiting he saw that the South Korean battalion commander who was an early victim of the Communist attack had been tragically prophetic; the North Koreans were still cutting their way at will through large forces of South Koreans and brushing aside with almost the same ease the first American forces to be thrown against them.  It appeared that the Communists were rolling toward complete victory.