Skip to main content

Puller, “Chesty” (Lewis B.)

Puller, “Chesty” [Lewis B.] (1898–1971), Marine Corps combat leader.Born in the peaceful village of West Point, Virginia, where his father had a wholesale grocery business, Puller was reared on tales of Confederate glory. His grandfather, Maj. John Puller, a heroic cavalryman, was killed in 1863. Determined on a military career, Puller completed one year at the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) before enlisting in the U.S. Marine Corps in August 1918. VMI may have given him the exaggerated military bearing for which he was nicknamed, but it was during more than four years as a Marine NCO and concurrent lieutenant of the Gendarmerie d’Haiti (1919–23) that Puller developed his distinctive leadership techniques: perfectionism; mission overachievement; and fearless, inspirational conduct under fire. Varied assignments followed his commissioning in 1924, including two tours in Nicaragua, in each of which he was awarded the Navy Cross. His third and fourth Navy Crosses came during World War II at the Battle of Guadalcanal and at Cape Gloucester on New Britain Island; and the fifth in Korea where Puller commanded the 1st Marine Regiment in the assault landing at Inchon, the seizure of Seoul, and the fighting at the Chosin Reservoir.

Fuller was promoted to brigadier general in 1951 and to lieutenant general upon retirement in 1955. During the 1950s, the colorful and outspoken Puller gained attention as a champion of tough, realistic training; a defender of the basic soundness of American youth; and a critic of higher leadership. His legend continued to grow; photographs of his bulldog visage hung in homes and service clubs across the country as a symbol of invincible heroism and fidelity to traditional military standards.
[See also Marine Corps, U.S.: 1914–45; Marine Corps, U.S.: Since 1945.]

Bibliography

Burke Davis , Marine! The Life of Lt. Gen. Lewis B. (Chesty) Puller, USMC (Ret.), 1962.

Gerald C. Thomas, Jr.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Puller, “Chesty” (Lewis B.)." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Aug. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Puller, “Chesty” (Lewis B.)." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 17, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/puller-chesty-lewis-b

"Puller, “Chesty” (Lewis B.)." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Retrieved August 17, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/puller-chesty-lewis-b

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.