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Chesty Puller

United States Marine Corps general
We've been looking for the enemy for some time now. We've finally found him. We're surrounded. That simplifies things.

Lieutenant General Lewis Burwell "Chesty" Puller (26 June 189811 October 1971) was a United States Marine officer. He is the most decorated United States Marine, and one of two US servicemen to be awarded five Navy Crosses and one Army Distinguished Service Cross.

QuotesEdit

 
I, never in my life, have ever made a statement that "I like to fight."
 
I'll take care of my men first. Frozen troops can't fight. If we run out of ammunition, we'll go to the bayonet.
  • I want to go where the guns are.
    • Statement on his reasons for leaving Virginia Military Institute after his freshman year to enlist in the US Marine Corps (1918), as quoted in Fox Valley Veterans : A Salute to Hometown Heroism (2008) by George Rawlinson, p. 230
  • Where the Hell do you put the bayonet?
    • On being shown a flamethrower for the first time (1944), as quoted in The Devil's Anvil : The Assault on Peleliu (1994) by James H. Hallas, p. 128
  • I want you to do one thing for me — write your people back home and tell 'em there's one hell of a damned war on out here, and that the raggedy-tailed North Koreans have been whipping a lot of so-called good American troops, and may do it again. Tell 'em there's no secret weapon for our country but to get hard, to get in there and fight.
    I want you to make 'em understand: Our country won't go on forever, if we stay soft as we are now. There won't be any America — because some foreign soldiery will invade us and take our women and breed a hardier race.
    • As quoted in Marine!: The Life Of Chesty Puller (1962), Burke Davis, Ch. XVII : The Hordes of China, p. 273
  • I wish I had a flair for writing, as then I am certain this regiment would get the credit due them when the history of this operation is finally written. Now everyone knows, but in a few years what is written will govern. I will do a better job of getting the facts in my reports than I did in the past war. I will also claim everything due the regiment.
    • Statement on operations in Korea (October 1950) as quoted in Chesty: The Story of Lieutenant General Lewis B. Puller, USMC (2001) by Jon T. Hoffman, Ch. 19 : "Not My Way Of Fighting A Battle", p. 371
  • I assure you, Virginia, that I, never in my life, have ever made a statement that "I like to fight."
    • Repudiating a statement attributed to him in a newspaper, in a letter to his wife (October 1950) as quoted in Chesty: The Story of Lieutenant General Lewis B. Puller, USMC (2001) by Jon T. Hoffman, Ch. 19 : "Not My Way Of Fighting A Battle", p. 371
  • I have yet to encounter any officer here who has read an account of the Russo-Japanese War. The Japanese armies went up through Korea, crossed the Yalu River and turned westward to capture Port Arthur. The Japs found out what cold weather would do to the troops under field conditions.
    • Statement of US preparations in Korea (November 1950), as quoted in Chesty: The Story of Lieutenant General Lewis B. Puller, USMC (2001) by Jon T. Hoffman, Ch. 19 : "Not My Way Of Fighting A Battle", p. 386
  • Our Eighth Army headquarters is still in Seoul. I don’t understand how they expect the troops to reach the Yalu River without their leaders.
    • Statement of US preparations in Korea (November 1950), as quoted in Chesty: The Story of Lieutenant General Lewis B. Puller, USMC (2001) by Jon T. Hoffman, Ch. 19 : "Not My Way Of Fighting A Battle", p. 386
  • I'll take care of my men first. Frozen troops can't fight. If we run out of ammunition, we'll go to the bayonet.
    • On leaving behind ammunition to make room for tents and stoves in supply trucks (November 1950), as quoted in Chesty: The Story of Lieutenant General Lewis B. Puller, USMC (2001) by Jon T. Hoffman, Ch. 19 : "Not My Way Of Fighting A Battle", p. 385
  • Let 'em get in close. Don’t waste ammo. Get your share! Remember, you don't hurt 'em if you don't hit 'em.
    • Addressing troops on using ammunition with accuracy (November 1950), as quoted in One Bugle, No Drums: The Marines at Chosin Reservoir (1986) by William Hopkins, Ch. 5 : Trouble at Kojo, p. 61; also quoted in The Marine Corps Gazette Vol. 47 (1963), p. 46
  • We've been looking for the enemy for some time now. We've finally found him. We're surrounded. That simplifies things.
    • Message sent during the Battle of Chosin Reservoir (December 1950), as quoted in Breakout: The Chosin Reservoir Campaign Korea, 1950 (1999) by Martin Russ
  • The Continental Army never went through anything like those boys in Korea. The weather at the Chosin Reservoir averaged 25 degrees below zero. and it doesn't get that cold at Valley Forge.
    • As quoted in Chesty: The Story of Lieutenant General Lewis B. Puller, USMC (2001) by Jon T. Hoffman, Ch. 19 : "Not My Way Of Fighting A Battle", p. 385
  • Those days in the woods saved my life many a time in combat.
    • Recalling his early days trapping muskrats before school to supplement his mother's income, as quoted in The Savage Wars of Peace (2002) by Max Boot

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