The Marines.


To Honor America's
Brave Warriors

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Noah H. Belew
USMC, 1st Marine Div., Circ. 1944

Chesty Puller -
"The Top U.S. Marine"

Without a doubt, all active duty U.S. Marines, retired Marines, or those who served a short time in the Corps, are familiar with the hero record of Chesty Puller. Some of us had the good fortune to serve with him in combat as well as in peace. For myself, I am proud to say that Chesty was my commanding officer during World War II and the Korean War.

My space is somewhat limited in my new website, but I do want to give you a little military history of this great American Marine. It is my hopes that a motion picture film will be produced of Chesty, "The Top U.S. Marine." And I encourage the American people to write the U.S. Postmaster General in Washington, D.C., and request a United States postal stamp be issued with Chesty's likeness.  

Lewis Burwell 'Chesty' Puller joined the United States Marine Corps at the end of WW1, and spent most of the 20s as an enlisted man, seconded to the Haitian Gendarmerie, acting as an officer in that organization. He became an officer in the Marine Corps in the mid-20s, and spent the late 20s and early 30s in Nicaragua.

Nicaragua 1931 - William A. (Ironman) Lee, Chesty Puller, and Nicaraguan soldiers

By the mid-30s, his reputation as one of the premier small unit tactics experts in the Marine Corps resulted in his teaching that course at the Marines Basic school for three years. About a third of the junior officers in the Corps during the period took the course from him. When WW2 started, he served first on Guadalcanal, then New Britain, and finally Peleliu. He later saw extensive action in Korea, retiring in 1955 and dying in 1971.

He had an extensive combat record and a series of awards that are hard to match: he remains the only Marine ever awarded five Navy Crosses.

My first and last communication with Lewis B. ‘Chesty' Puller and

his son
Lewis, Jr.

At age 17, I met Col. Lewis B. ‘Chesty' Puller, USMC -

While standing at attention wearing leggins and shaking in my combat boots (as if I were having a nervous breakdown) I met my  new commanding officer Col. Lewis B. 'Chesty' Puller. With a bulldog face and a chest like a 50 gallon barrel, Chesty Puller walked to my front and looked me straight in my eyes.
“Can you fight Marine?”
Chesty asked.
“Sir, I have had a few fights in school while reaching the 8th Grade, Sir,” I said.
“Did you win?” Chesty asked.
“Yes Sir,” I replied.
Chesty asked, “Do you think you can kill Japanese?”
“Sir, I have been trained to do that, Sir,” I replied.
As Chesty walked away he said, “If you don't kill him you will die.”
Those were heavy words for a 17-year-old kid who should be home in high school.

My U.S. Marine Corps training paid off during World War II. I also served under Chesty's command during the Korean War fighting against Communist North Korea and China. With God's help, I survived the many battles of war. I looked at Chesty as a father figure, since my own father had died right before I joined the Corps.

My last meeting with Lt. General Puller

In 1955 at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Headquarters Marine Corps decided that it was time for Chesty to retire, even though he did not agree.

Chesty decided to have his retirement party at the Staff NCO Club. All enlisted personnel were invited. Chesty felt very close to the enlisted for two reasons; they did the fighting, and he was an enlisted man for several years when he first became a U.S. Marine.

I was very touched with Chesty's reaction to me at the party. He embraced me with a hug and his tears fell on the shoulder of my Marine uniform. That evening, Chesty directed his driver to remove the 3-star license plate from the front of his car, and then, in a gesture I treasure, Chesty told his driver to give the license plate to me.

Lewis B. Puller, Jr.

Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to meet face-to-face with Chesty's son Lewis B. Puller, Jr., who was born after World War II in 1945. However, I did correspond with him via USPS. He sent me hand-written notes on postcards, and I would respond with letters. Our correspondences started about a year or so before he took his own life.

Lewis Jr. became a 2nd Lt. in the Marine Corps after he graduated from the Navy Academy, and he was sent to Vietnam for combat. In a very short time after arriving there, he stepped on a landmine and lost both legs; and both of his hands and arms were almost totally distroyed. He came home, and with much difficulty, he survived and later became a lawyer.

I first sent Lewis, Jr. a note telling him of the license plate his father had given me on his retirement, and I asked him if he would like to have it. His reply was thanks, but he wanted me to keep it.

He sent me a hand-written postcard, which I could see from the scribbling wasn't an easy task. He informed me that he was leaving within a week to visit Vietnam... said he just had to go there one more time.

He returned to his home in Virginia a few days later, but I never heard from him again. He was the son of the greatest warrior the Marine Corps had ever known, and I suppose the mental pressure of his condition became too much for him.

The Top United States Marine

Lt. General Lewis B. ‘Chesty' Puller was the bravest person I have ever known. He had no fear. Win at all cost was his motto. A lot of Chesty rubbed off on me, and almost every day I find myself doing things Chesty's way. He was a winner, and should be remembered.


The Navy Cross Perhaps it could be called: "Chesty Puller's Navy Cross Citations." In the history of the U.S. Marine Corps, no other Marine was awarded five Navy Crosses. A Navy Cross is one-step less than the Medal of Honor. It was an honor for me to serve in the Corps under Chesty's command.

Lewis B. 'Chesty' Puller's Navy Cross citations:
Rank and Service: First Lieutenant , U.S. Marine Corps (03158)
Organization: attached to the Nicaraguan National Guard
Conflict: Second Nicaraguan Campaign
Date of Action: 16 February to 19 August 1930
Place of Action: Nicaragua
Authorized by: The Navy Department Board of Decorations and Medals
Citation: For distinguished service in the line of his professional while commanding a Nicaraguan National Guard patrol. First Lieutenant Lewis B. Puller, United States Marine Corps, successfully led his forces into five successful engagements against superior numbers of armed bandit forces; namely, at LaVirgen on 16 February 1930, at Los Cedros on 6 June 1930, at Moncotal on 22 July 1930, at Guapinol on 25 July 1930, and at Malacate on 19 August 1930, with the result that the bandits were in each engagement completely routed with losses of nine killed and many wounded. By his intelligent and forceful leadership without thought of his own personal safety, by great physical exertion and by suffering many hardships, Lieutenant Puller surmounted all obstacles and dealt five successive and severe blows against organized banditry in the Republic of Nicaragua .

NAVY CROSS (1st Gold Star)
Rank and Service: First Lieutenant , U.S. Marine Corps (03158)
Organization: attached to the Nicaraguan National Guard
Conflict: Second Nicaraguan Campaign
Date of Action: 20 September to 1 October 1932
Place of Action: Nicaragua
Authorized by: The Navy Department Board of Decorations and Medals
Citation: First Lieutenant Lewis B. Puller, United States Marine Corps (Captain, Guardia Nacional de Nicaragua) performed exceptionally meritorious service in a duty of great responsibility while in command of a Guardia Patrol from 20 September to 1 October 1932 . Lieutenant Puller and his command of forty Guardia and Gunnery Sergeant William A. Lee, United States Marine Corps, serving as a First Lieutenant in the Guardia, penetrated the isolated mountainous bandit territory for a distance of from eighty to one hundred miles north of Jinotega , his nearest base. This patrol was ambushed on 26 September 1932, at a point northeast of Mount Kilambe by an insurgent force of one hundred fifty in a well-prepared position armed with not less than seven automatic weapons and various classes of small arms and well-supplied with ammunition. Early in the combat, Gunnery Sergeant Lee, the Second in Command was seriously wounded and reported as dead. The Guardia immediately behind Lieutenant Puller in the point was killed by the first burst of fire, Lieutenant Puller, with great courage, coolness and display of military judgment, so directed the fire and movement of his men that the enemy were driven first from the high ground on the right of his position, and then by a flanking movement forced from the high ground to the left and finally were scattered in confusion with a loss of ten killed and many wounded by the persistent and well-directed attack of the patrol. The numerous casualties suffered by the enemy and the Guardia losses of two killed and four wounded are indicative of the severity of the enemy resistance. This signal victory in jungle country, with no lines of communication and a hundred miles from any supporting force, was largely due to the indomitable courage and persistence of the patrol commander. Returning with the wounded to Jinotega , the patrol was ambushed twice by superior forces on 30 September. On both of the occasions the enemy was dispersed with severe losses.

NAVY CROSS ( 2nd Gold Star)
Rank and Service: Lieutenant Colonel , U.S. Marine Corps (03158)
Organization: 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division
Conflict: World War II
Date of Action: 24 to 25 October 1942
Place of Action: Guadalcanal , British Solomon Islands
Authorized by: The Navy Department Board of Decorations and Medals
Citation: For extraordinary heroism as Commanding Officer of the First Battalion, Seventh Marines, First Marine Division, during the action against enemy Japanese forces on Guadalcanal , Solomon Islands , on the night of 24 to 25 October 1942. While Lieutenant Colonel Puller's battalion was holding a mile-long front in a heavy downpour of rain, a Japanese force, superior in number, launched a vigorous assault against that position of the line which passed through a dense jungle. Courageously withstanding the enemy's desperate and determined attacks, Lieutenant Colonel Puller not only held his battalion to its position until reinforcements arrived three hours later, but also effectively commanded the augmented force until late in the afternoon of the next day. By his tireless devotion to duty and cool judgment under fire, he prevented a hostile penetration of our lines and was largely responsible for the successful defense of the sector assigned to his troops.

NAVY CROSS (3rd Gold Star)
Rank and Service: Lieutenant Colonel , U.S. Marine Corps (03158)
Organization: 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, attached to the 6th U.S. Army
Conflict: World War II
Date of Action: 26 December 1943 to 19 January 1944
Place of Action: Cape Gloucester , New Britain Island , Bismarck Archipelago
Authorized by: The Navy Department Board of Decorations and Medals
Citation: For extraordinary heroism as Executive Officer of the Seventh Marines, First Marine Division, serving with the Sixth United States Army, in combat against enemy Japanese forces at Cape Gloucester , New Britain , from 26 December 1943 to 19 January 1944 . Assigned temporary command of the Third Battalion, Seventh Marines, from 4 to 9 January, Lieutenant Colonel Puller quickly reorganized and advanced his unit, effecting the seizure of the objective without delay. Assuming additional duty in command of the Third Battalion, Fifth Marines, from 7 to 8 January, after the commanding officer and executive officer had been wounded, Lieutenant Colonel Puller unhesitatingly exposed himself to rifle, machine-gun and mortar fire from strongly entrenched Japanese positions to move from company to company in his front lines, reorganizing and maintaining a critical position along a fire-swept ridge. His forceful leadership and gallant fighting spirit under the most hazardous conditions were contributing factors in the defeat of the enemy during this campaign and in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

NAVY CROSS (4th Gold Star)
Rank and Service: Colonel , U.S. Marine Corps (03158)
Organization: 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division (Reinforced)
Conflict: Korean War
Date of Action: 5 to 10 December 1950
Place of Action: vicinity of Koto- ri , Korea
Authorized by: The Navy Department Board of Decorations and Medals
Citation: For extraordinary heroism as Commanding Officer of the First Marines, First Marine Division (Reinforced), in action against aggressor forces in the vicinity of Koto- ri , Korea , from 5 to 10 December 1950 . Fighting continuously in sub-zero weather against a vastly outnumbering hostile force, 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 along his troops to insure their correct tactical employment, reinforced the lines as the situation demanded, and successfully defended the perimeter, keeping open the main supply routes for the movement of the Division. During the attack from Koto- ri to Hungnam , 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.

In Honor of 'Chesty' Puller
In the history of the United States, no U.S. Marine has ever been approved for a U.S. postage-stamp. Let's get one for Chesty.

Please send a postcard to the U.S. Postmaster General in Washington , D.C., and request that a postage stamp be issued with the likeness of Chesty Puller.
Write this message on a postcard:
"It is now time for you to approve the Chesty Puller stamp."

The Chesty Puller stamp was approved and will be available in May 2005.
Click Here For More Details

Mail to: Postmaster General
(Attn: Stamp Advisory Committee)
USPS 475 L'Enfant Plaza SW
Washington, D.C. 20260-2437

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