Puller, Lewis

Puller, Lewis (Burwell)

(1898–1971) marine officer; born in West Point, Va. Noted for his tactical skill and his bravery under fire, "Chesty" Puller personified the tough, hard-driving marine combat commander. His father, a wholesale grocer, died when the boy was ten; he hunted, trapped and fished to help support the family before enlisting in 1918. He served in the Haitian constabulary from 1919 to 1924, and fought guerrillas in Nicaragua from 1928 to 1933. Given command of a batallion in the Seventh Marine Regiment shortly before the outbreak of World War II, he led the unit in a brilliant defense of Henderson Field on Guadalcanal Island in 1942. In 1950, as commander of the First Marine Regiment, he led the seaborne assault on Inchon in Korea, participated in the drive to the Yalu River, and commanded the rear guard in the subsequent retreat from the Chosin Reservoir.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.