Virginian Lewis Burwell “Chesty” Puller was an all-American hero who served in conflicts around the world including the Pacific in World War II and the Korean War in the 1950s. He was a Marine, and even although he died almost 50 years ago, he is still a legend within the ranks of that elite U.S. military outfit.
Puller was born in June 1898 in West Point, Virginia, to parents Matthew and Martha. His father was a grocer but sadly died when Puller was just ten years old. It has been said that the fatherless boy would while away many childhood hours listening to tales of derring-do from old campaigners from the American Civil War.
That conflict had ended in 1865 – not much more than 30 years before Puller was born – so there was every chance that the impressionable young lad met veterans who had actually participated in the war. Indeed, legendary Confederate General “Stonewall” Jackson was apparently a particular hero of the youngster’s.
In 1916, the teenage Puller was eager to see some action for himself and to generate some war stories of his own. The young Virginian attempted to enlist in the U.S. Army so that he could play his part in the Border War with Mexico. Alas, he was too young to join on his own say-so and his widowed mother refused to give the required permission. And so Puller’s first attempt to get into active service was thwarted, but it would not stay that way for long.
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