Lewis Puller

Lewis Puller

Korean War · US Marine Corps · Lieutenant General

Navy Cross Citation

  • Nicaragua

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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