Antidote to the bitter cynicism of my last post.
Lewis Puller, nicknamed “Chesty” because of his perfect posture and the fact that his torso somewhat resembled a full-size beer keg full of lead bricks, raw muscle and horse steroids, was a hard-as-shit motherfucker who is almost universally-recognized as the most badass dude to ever wear the uniform of the United States Marine Corps. Not bad, considering that being revered as the pinnacle of toughness by the USMC is kind of like being King of the Vikings or the toughest Klingon to ever set foot on the planet Kronos. In his thirty-seven years of service to the Corps, Puller would rise through the ranks from Private to General, kick more asses than Juan Valdez on an insane bender, and become the most decorated Marine in American history.
Born in the small town of West Point, Virginia, Puller grew up hunting, fishing, armwrestling black bears and reading about military history. He enrolled in the prestigious Virginia Military Academy in 1917, but dropped out after a year to enlist in the Marines, mostly because he didn’t want to fuck around reading books about kicking sack when he could be out there booting it himself. He was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Marine Corps Reserves, but was placed on the inactive list ten days after his enlistment (WWI was winding down, and the government was scaling the military back). Since nothing was going to stand between Chesty Puller and his mad desire to shoot motherfuckers in the eye, Puller re-enlisted in the Corps, this time going in as a lowly Private. After thirteen weeks of running eighty miles a day, climbing sheer cliff faces with his bare hands, and crawling under barbed wire while pissed-off Drill Instructors whacked him over the head with rusty medieval polearms and belted forth a constant stream of compound profanities vile enough to make the baby Jesus cry, Puller was shipped out to kick asses in Haiti.
Puller’s mission was to maintain order in Haiti by killing endless hordes of Caco Rebels bent on the violent overthrow of the U.S.-sponsored Haitian government. Over the course of five years, Chesty fought in over forty engagements against these rebels, where he gained valuable experience in small-unit tactics, jungle warfare, and ripping his enemies’ hearts out through their ribcages with his bare hands. His toughness and badassitude earned him rapid promotions, and by the time he was shipped out to Nicaragua in 1930 he was already a commissioned Lieutenant. Er… again.
As the commander of the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, Puller’s men were tasked with making an amphibious assault near the Matanikau River on the sunny Pacific resort island of Guadalcanal and staking out a critical strategic Margarita stand. Two companies of the 1/7 hit the beaches, and almost immediately ran into a force of Japanese regular infantry much larger and more well-prepared than anything the Marines were expecting to face there. The invasion force was cut-off and surrounded by an enemy counter attack, and Puller quickly realized that he had to get his boys out of there before they were cut to pieces. Another group of Marines tried to break through the Japanese flank and reach the stranded men, but the enemy resistance was too strong and they were too well-fortified to be displaced. The commander of the operation told Puller that it was hopeless, and that those Marines were lost. Well Chesty Fucking Puller never resigned defeat for any reason. He slammed his fist down on the table and immediately stormed out of camp toward the beach, where he flagged down a U.S. Destroyer that happened to be sailing off the coast. Despite having absolutely no authority to do so, Puller boarded the vessel and immediately began organizing a second amphibious assault aimed at breaking through the Japanese lines. From the deck of the ship he directed the Destroyer to fire everything they had at the enemy fortifications. The shelling, coupled with the second landing, punched through the enemy blockade and cleared a path for the stranded Marines to escape. One week after this defeat, Puller and his men would return to the mouth of the Matanikau River and obliterate all Japanese opposition in the sector, probably with their bare hands.
During that same campaign, Puller would once again prove his brass-ballsitude by going above and beyond the call of duty in the name of kicking every ass he could find. On the night of 24 October 1942, 700 men of the 1/7 were positioned in a thin, mile-long line, defending an American airfield that was critical for the success of the Guadalcanal operation. They suddenly came under an intense onslaught from the seasoned men of the Japanese 17th Army, who came charging full-speed at the U.S. positions. For over three hours in the middle of the night, Chesty Puller ran up and down the U.S. lines directing his men and giving orders to his company commanders. When the smoke cleared the next morning, the hard-fighting men of the 1st Marines had killed 1,400 of the enemy and captured seventeen trucks loaded with weapons and PlayStations while sustaining fewer than 70 casualties. Before he would leave Guadalcanal, Puller would be shot twice by snipers and hit once with shrapnel from an exploding mortar round, but none of that bullshit would slow him down because he had well over 200 hit points thanks to his 18 Constitution score and the fact that he was a Level 15 Marine Commander. Shit, fucking Admiral Yamamoto himself could have swooped in on a giant fucking red dragon that breathed fire right in Puller’s fucking face and Chesty would have just casually dusted himself off, broken the dragon’s neck, and hurled the Admiral into an active volcano.
With Puller, “badass” doesn’t even begin to cover it, as evidenced by the quote that closes the article:
“Where the Hell do you put the bayonet?”
– Chesty Puller, on first seeing a flamethrower
Heh. Just imagine Puller back home in the States as a retired Reservist called up to help quell an Antifa riot. San Fran’s fecal-pile problem would worsen by several orders of magnitude the moment those masked punks got a load of the lightning bolts of contempt and disgust emanating from Chesty’s eyes on his first gander at the cowardly fucking pussies.
It would be all too easy to say that they just don’t make ’em like Puller anymore, but A) I’m fortunate enough to count a good few SEALs, Rangers, and Marines—both former- and active-duty—among my circle of friends and close acquaintances, not one of which is in any way bereft of bad-assitude, and B) they only ever made just the one of him anyway. God rest him.