"We're surrounded! Well, that simplifies our problem."
Lieutenant General Lewis Burwell 'Chesty' Puller is considered by many to be the greatest Marine ever. Lewis Puller served in Haiti, china, Nicaragua, Korea, and World War II. He is the only Marine to be awarded the Navy Cross five times for heroism and gallantry in combat. Puller served in the US Marine Corps for 37 years, and was at sea or overseas for 27 of those years.
Puller attended Virginia Military Institute until dropping out to join the Marines in August of 1918, hoping to see service in World War I. Appointed a second lieutenant in the reserves, he was discharged due to force cutbacks after the war. Puller then re-enter the Marines as an enlisted man to serve with a military force in Haiti.
Puller saw frequent action during his five years in Haiti against the Caco rebels. Returning to the US in 1924, Puller was commissioned a second lieutenant. Puller served in Nicaragua from 1928 to 1933 where he earned two Navy Crosses. After leaving Nicaragua, Puller went to China and commanded the famed "Horse Marines."
Puller commanded the 7th Regiment of the 1st Marine Division during action on Gualalcanal in World War II. Puller earned his third Navy Cross on 24-25 October 1942 while his battalion defended Henderson Field against seasoned Japanese troops. Puller's men sustained less than 70 casualties while killing over 1400 Japanese and protecting the airfield.
Puller won his fourth Navy Cross in February 1944 while executive officer of 7th Marines at Cape Gloucester. Puller moved through machine gun and mortar fire to take command of two battalions whose commanders had been killed. During this action Puller earned his fourth Navy Cross.
Puller landed with the 1st Marines at Inchon, Korea, in September of 1950. Puller continued to serve in Korea until May of 1951. LtGen Puller retired in 1955 after serving 37 years and earning five Navy Crosses, the Silver Star, two Legions of Merit with "V", the Bronze Star, the Bronze Star with "V", the Air Medal, and the Purple Heart. In 1966, at the age of 68, Puller requested to return to active duty for service in Vietnam, but was turned down due to his age.