local marine corps history

Lt General Lewis B "Chesty" Puller USMC Retired

Lewis B "Chesty" Puller

LtGen Lewis Burwell "Chesty" Puller is one of the most decorated men in Marine Corps History. He was awarded 5 Navy Crosses and an Army Distinguished Service Cross. 



Chesty was born June 26, 1898,  in West Point , Va.  

He left to attend VMI in 1917 and in 1918 because he "wanted to go where the guns were" he entered the Marine Corps at Parris Island South Carolina.



Chesty and Virginia had two daughters and one son. 

Martha and Virginia Puller and Lewis B Puller jr. 

His son, a Marine Lt. was severely injured while serving in Vietnam. His injuries were so severe that he later committed suicide in 1994.

His daughter Virginia is married to the late Cololnel Willliam Dabney- USMC Retired. Col Dabney is a Navy Cross recipient and passed away in 2012.

His daughter Martha is married to Brigadier General Michael Downs USMC Retired and recipient of the Navy Distinguished Service Medal. 



After a very prestigious 37 year military career spanning WWI, WWII, and Korean Wars, he was medically retired in 1955 after suffering a stroke.  He lived in this home in Saluda, Va. with his wife Virginia until his death in 1971.



Chesty will forever be  the United States Marine Corps most symbolic legend and his legacy will no doubt be what drives EVERY US Marine to come. He is the true meaning of -espirt de corps and comprises the principals instilled in each Marine.  Ft.Lee Marines are seen above. They run a relay formation run from Ft.Lee Va to Christ Church each year, hold a graveside memorial and return. A ritual they've done for many years. The town of West point also hosts a Chesty 10k each June (birthday) that affords the opportunity to run near his birth place. 



Chesty died Oct 11, 1971 and is buried in ChristChurch Parish Cemetery, just a few miles away from his home, where he attended services. He his buried next to his wife Virginia; where there are ceremonies done graveside each year.  Detachment #1317 holds a Memorial each year around the Marine Corps Birthday.  All in addition to the COUNTLESS visits by young and old Marines alike , who pay reverence to a man they strive to make proud.