Summary

Conflict Period:
Korean War 1
Branch:
Marine Corps 1
Rank:
Brigadier General (1951) 2
Rank:
Lieutenant General 1
Birth:
26 Jun 1898 1
West Point, Virginia 1
Death:
11 Oct 1971 1
Hampton, Virginia 1
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Pictures & Records (19)

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LTG Lewis "Chesty" Puller
LTG Lewis "Chesty" Puller
Navy Cross
Navy Cross
Silver Star
Silver Star
Bronze Star Medal
Bronze Star Medal
Purple Heart
Purple Heart
Navy Presidential Unit Citation
Navy Presidential Unit Citation
Legion of Merit
Legion of Merit
Distinguished Service Cross
Distinguished Service Cross
Chesty Puller
Chesty Puller
Puller on Guadalcanal in September, 1942
Puller on Guadalcanal in September, 1942
Lt. Gen Lewis B. Puler & 1st Mamrine Division insignia
Lt. Gen Lewis B. Puler & 1st Mamrine Division insignia
Puller and Lee
Puller and Lee
First Lieutenant Lewis "Chesty" Puller (center left) and Sergeant William "Ironman" Lee (center right) and two Nicaraguan soldiers in 1931
Birthday
Birthday
Colonel Puller cutting the Marine Corps birthday cake on 10 November 1950, during a brief reprieve from battle during the Korean War[
Korea
Korea
Colonel Puller studies the terrain during the Korean War.
Grave
Grave
Grave at Christ Church Cemetery, Saluda, Middlesex County Virginia USA
Medals
Medals
Major General Lewis B “Chesty” Puller and General Holland M. “Howlin’ Mad” Smith (Ret) and their wives at the Marine Corps Ball, 1953.
Major General Lewis B “Chesty” Puller and General Holland M. “Howlin’ Mad” Smith (Ret) and their wives at the Marine Corps Ball, 1953.
Puller & MacArthur
Puller & MacArthur
Marine Col Chesty Puller (standing) visited by Army General Douglas MacArthur (seated) as Puller pushed toward Seoul, South Korea, Sep 20 1950. Driving is Army MGen Ned Almond and in the rear are Marine Generals MGen OP Smith & LGen Lem Shepherd.
Lewis and Virginia Puller on their Wedding Day, Nov. 13, 1937
Lewis and Virginia Puller on their Wedding Day, Nov. 13, 1937

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Personal Details

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Full Name:
Lewis Burwell Puller, Sr. 3
Also known as:
"Chesty" 3
Full Name:
Lewis Puller 4
Birth:
26 Jun 1898 3
West Point, Virginia 3
Male 3
Birth:
26 Jun 1898 4
Death:
11 Oct 1971 3
Hampton, Virginia 3
Death:
Oct 1971 4
Burial:
Burial Date: October 1971 3
Burial Place: Christ Church Cemetery, Saluda, Middlesex County, Virginia 3
Residence:
Last Residence: Saluda, VA 4
Edit
Birth:
Mother: Martha Leigh Richardson 3
Father: Matthew Miller Puller 3
Marriage:
Virginia Montague Evans 5
13 Nov 1937 5
Saluda, Virginia 5
Spouse Death Date: 04 Feb 2006 5
Edit

Korean War 1

Branch:
Marine Corps 1
Rank:
Brigadier General (1951) 2
Rank:
Lieutenant General 1
Service Start Date:
1918 1
Service End Date:
1955 1
Battles:
Battle of Inchon; Battle of Chosin Reservoir 6
Commands held:
1st Marine Regiment 6

Other Service 7

Branch:
Marine Corps 7
Rank:
Second Lieutenant (1919, 1924) to Lieutenant General (1955) 6
Conflicts:
Occupation of Haiti; Occupation of Nicaragua 6

World War II 7

Branch:
Marine Corps 7
Rank:
Colonel 6
Battles:
Action along the Matanikau; Battle of Henderson Field; Battle of Cape Gloucester; Battle of Peleliu 6
Commands held:
1st Battalion, 7th Marines; 1st Marine Regiment 6
Edit
Occupation:
Lieutenant General, U.S. Marine Corps 3
Race or Ethnicity:
Caucasian 3
Education:
Institution: Virginia Military Institute 3
Place: Lexington, Virginia 3
From: 1916 3
To: 1918 3
Battle Honors (Korea):
CCF Spring Offensive: 22 April - 8 July 1951 3
Communist China Aggression: 3 November 1950 - 24 January 1951 3
First United Nations Counteroffensive: 25 January - 21 April 1951 3
Inchon Landing: 13-17 September 1950 3
North Korean Aggression: 27 June - 2 November 1950 3
Battle Honors (WWII):
Bismarck Archipelago Operation (Cape Gloucester): 26 December 1943 - 1 March 1944 3
Capture & Defense of Guadalcanal: 10 August 1942 - 8 February 1943 3
Capture & Occupation of Southern Palau Islands: 6 September - 14 October 1944 3
Finschhafen Operation: 22 September 1943 - 17 February 1944 3
Marine Corps Service:
Commissioned, 2nd Lieutenant: 16 Jun 1919 6
Enlistment: 1918 6
Grade: O9 3
Rank at Retirement: Lieutenant General 6
Recommissioned, 2nd Lieutenant: 06 Mar 1924 6
Retirement: 1955 6
Reverted to Corporal: 26 Jun 1919 6
Serial Number: 0-3158 6
Military Awards:
2nd Nicaraguan Campaign Medal: 27 August 1926 - 2 January 1933 8
Air Medal: 3 Awards 6
American Defense Service Medal: "Base" clasp 3
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Service Medal: 4 Battle Stars 3
Bronze Star Medal w/ "V": September 1942 6
China Service Medal (1937-39): Peiping, China 3
Cross of Valor w/ Diploma: Nicaragua 3
Distinguished Service Cross: 29 November - 4 December 1950 9
Haitian Campaign Medal: 1 April 1919 - 15 June 1920 10
Korea Service Medal: 5 Battle Stars 3
Legion of Merit w/ "V": 15 September - 2 October 1944 9
Legion of Merit w/ "V": 15 September - 2 November 1950 9
Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal: 2 Awards 3
Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal: 1924 3
Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal: 1921 3
Medaille Militaire: Haiti 3
National Defense Service Medal: 27 June 1950 - 27 July 1954 3
Navy Cross: 5-10 December 1950 9
Navy Cross: 16 February - 19 August 1930 9
Navy Cross: 20 September - 1 October 1932 9
Navy Cross: 24-25 October 1942 9
Navy Cross: 26 December 1943 - 19 January 1944 9
Presidential Medal of Merit w/ Diploma: Nicaragua 3
Presidential Unit Citation: Peleliu 3
Presidential Unit Citation: 15 September - 11 October 1950 11
Presidential Unit Citation: 27 November - 11 December 1950 12
Presidential Unit Citation: Guadalcanal 3
Purple Heart: 09 Nov 1942 6
ROK Presidential Unit Citation: 27 June 1950 - 27 July 1953 3
ROK War Service Medal: 25 June 1950 - 27 July 1953 3
Silver Star: 15 Sep 1950 9
Ulchi Medal w/ Gold Star: Republic of Korea 3
United Nations Service Medal: Korea 3
WWI Victory Medal: "West Indies" clasp 3
WWII Victory Medal: 7 December 1941 - 31 December 1946 3
Social Security:
Card Issued: Virginia 4
Social Security Number: ***-**-2759 4

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Navy Cross Citation

Nicaragua

Navy Cross

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to First Lieutenant Lewis B. Puller (MCSN: 0-3158), United States Marine Corps, 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) Citatioin

Nicaragua

Navy Cross

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting a Gold Star in lieu of a Second Award of the Navy Cross to First Lieutenant Lewis B. Puller (MCSN: 0-3158), United States Marine Corps, for 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) Citation

Guadalcanal

Navy Cross

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting a Second Gold Star in lieu of a Third Award of the Navy Cross to Lieutenant Colonel Lewis B. Puller (MCSN: 0-3158), United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service as Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, during the action against enemy Japanese forces on Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, on the night of 24 - 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. His conduct throughout was in keeping with the highest traditions of the Navy of the United States.

Navy Cross (3rd Gold Star) Citation

Cape Gloucester, New Britain

Navy Cross

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting a Third Gold Star in lieu of a Fourth Award of the Navy Cross to Lieutenant Colonel Lewis B. Puller (MCSN: 0-3158), United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service while serving as Executive Officer of the 7th Marine Regiment (Reinforced), 1st Marine Division, serving with the 6th 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 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 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) Citation

Koto-Ri, Korea

Navy Cross

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting a Fourth Gold Star in lieu of a Fifth Award of the Navy Cross to Colonel Lewis B. Puller (MCSN: 0-3158), United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United Nations while serving as Commanding Officer of the 1st Marine Regiment, 1st 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.

Distinguished Service Cross Citation

Chosin Reservoir, Korea

Distinguished Service Cross

The President of the United States of America, under the provisions of the Act of Congress approved July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Colonel Lewis B. Puller (MCSN: 0-3158), United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United Nations while serving as Commanding Officer, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division (Reinforced), in action against enemy aggressor forces in the vicinity of the Chosin Reservoir, Korea, during the period 29 November to 4 December 1950. Colonel Puller's actions contributed materially to the breakthrough of the 1st Marine Regiment in the Chosin Reservoir area and are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service.

General Orders No. 66 (December 15, 1950), Headquarters, X Corps

Silver Star Citation

Inchon, Korea

Silver Star

 

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star (Army Award) to Colonel Lewis B. Puller (MCSN: 0-3158), United States Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity while Commanding the 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division (Reinforced), in action against enemy aggressor forces during the amphibious landing resulting in the capture of Inchon, Korea, on 15 September 1950 in the Inchon-Seoul Operation. His actions contributed materially to the success of this operation and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Military Service.

General Orders No. 50 (October 27, 1950), Headquarters, Far East Command

 

Legion of Merit Citation

Peleliu, Palau Islands

Legion of Merit

Lieutenant Colonel Lewis B. Puller (MCSN: 0-3158), United States Marine Corps, was awarded the Legion of Merit for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the Government of the United States as Commanding Officer, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division in the Battle of Peleliu, during the period from 15 September through 2 October 1944.

The Combat Distinguishing Device is authorized.

Legion of Merit (1st Gold Star) Citation

Korea

Legion of Merit

Colonel Lewis B. Puller (MCSN: 0-3158), United States Marine Corps, was awarded a Gold Star in lieu of a Second Award of the Legion of Merit for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the Government of the United States as Commanding Officer, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division (Reinforced), in action against enemy aggressor forces in Korea from 15 September through 2 November 1950.

The Combat Distinguishing Device is authorized.

Presidential Unit Citation

Inchon, Korea

Navy Presidential Unit Citation

The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting
THE PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION 
TO THE FIRST MARINE DIVISION, REINFORCED
for services as set forth in the following Citation:

"For extraordinary heroism in action against enemy aggressor forces in Korea from 15 September to 11 October 1950.  In the face of a determined enemy and against almost insurmountable obstacles, including disadvantageous tidal and beach conditions on the western coast of Korea, the First Marine Division, Reinforced, rapidly and successfully effected the amphibious seizure of Inchon in an operation without parallel in the history of amphibious warfare.  Fully aware that the precarious situation of friendly ground forces fighting desperately against the continued heavy pressure of a numerically superior hostile force necessitated the planning and execution of this extremely hazardous operation within a period of less than thirty days, and cognizant of the military importance of its assigned target, the Division moved quickly into action and, on 15 September, by executing three well-coordinated attacks over highly treacherous beach approaches defended by resolute enemy troops, captured the island of Wolmi-do, the city of Inch'on and Kimp'o Airfield, and rendered invaluable assistance in the capture of Seoul.  As a result of its aggressive attack, the Division drove the hostile forces in hasty retreat over thirty miles in the ensuing ten days, completely severed vital hostile communication and supply lines and greatly relieved enemy pressure on other friendly ground units, thereby permitting these units to break out from their Pusan beachhead and contributing materially to the total destruction of hostile ground forces in southern Korea.  The havoc and destruction wrought on an enemy flushed with previous victories and the vast accomplishments in turning the tide of battle from a weakening defensive to a vigorous offensive action reflect the highest credit upon the officers and men of the First Marine Division, Reinforced, and the United States Naval Service."

Source: The Korean War Educator

Presidential Unit Citation

Chosin Reservoir, Korea

Navy Presidential Unit Citation

The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting
THE PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION 
TO THE FIRST MARINE DIVISION
for service as set forth in the following Citation:

"For extraordinary heroism and outstanding performance of duty in action against enemy aggressor forces in the Chosin reservoir and Koto-Ri of Korea from 27 November to 11 December 1950.

When the full fury of the enemy counterattack struck both the Eighth Army and the Tenth Corps on 27 and 28 November 1950, the First Marine Division, operating as the Left Flank Division of the Tenth Corps, launched a daring assault westward from Yudam-Ni in an effort to cut the road and rail communications of hostile forces attacking the eighth army and at the same time, continued its mission of protecting a vital main supply route consisting of a tortuous mountain road running southward to Chinhung-Ni, approximately 35 miles distant.

Ordered to withdraw to Hamhung in company with attached army and other friendly units in the face of tremendous pressure in the Chosin reservoir area the division began an epic battle against the bulk of the enemy third route army and, while small intermediate garrisons at Hagaru-Ri and Koto-Ri held firmly against repeated and determined attacks by hostile forces, gallantly fought its way successively to Hagaru-Ri, Koto-Ri, Chinhung-Ni and Hamhung over twisting, mountainous and icy roads in sub-zero temperatures.

Battling desperately night and day in the face of almost insurmountable odds throughout a period of two weeks of intense and sustained combat, the First Marine Division emerged from its ordeal as a fighting unit with its wounded, with its guns and equipment and with its prisoners, decisively defeating seven enemy divisions, together with elements of three others, and inflicting major losses which seriously impaired the military effectiveness of the hostile forces for a considerable period of time.

The valiant fighting spirit, relentless perseverance and heroic fortitude of the officers and men of the First Marine Division, in battle against a vastly outnumbering enemy, were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."

Harry S. Truman
President of the United States

Source: The Korean War Educator

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