31 Chesty Puller Quotes From History's Most Decorated Marine Officer

Puller's fierce dedication earned him the nickname 'El Tiger' among the Nicaraguan troops.
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Lewis Burwell 'Chesty' Puller was a United States Marine Corps Officer.

He was born on 26 June 1898 and died on 11 October 1971 in Virginia, United States, by a stroke. Even today United States marine officers never eat until the enlisted men have served thanks to Puller's leadership and legacy.

His parents were Martha Puller and Matthew Puller. His father passed away when he was ten years old.  As a child, he grew up hunting and listening to tales of civil war told by relatives. He was an avid reader of military tales since childhood. Puller's motto was 'Lead By Example'. When the force was reduced in size from 73,000 to 1,100 officers and 27,400 men, Puller was inactive but was made a corporal in the end. As a leader, when appointed in office, he promoted self-reliance and efficiency in his team. His experience helped him gain respect in the U.S. as well as around the world. By 1953 he had been promoted to the post of major general. His ex-wife's name was Virginia Montague Evans and his children are Lewis Burwell Puller Jr, Martha Puller, and Virginia Puller. Lewis was inspired by his father when he joined the marine corps however he lost both legs and hands in a mine explosion.

In this article, we will take a look into Puller's inspirational quotes related to his life experience. If you like Chesty Puller quotes, visit Von Clausewitz quotes and [anti war quotes].

General Chesty Puller Quotes

Chesty Puller got his famous nickname because of his big, thrust-out chest. While some say that the original had been shot away and the new chest was a steel plate others say 'Chesty' was an old Marine expression meaning 'cocky'. Here are some Chesty Puller quotes from his time as general in the U.S. marines.

The corps adopted a bulldog, the first mascot to enlist into the ranks in 1922 named Jiggs and later included in the force.

1. "Son, when the Marine Corps wants you to have a wife, you will be issued one."

-Chesty Puller

2."I want to go where the guns are."

-Chesty Puller

3." You don't hurt 'em if you don't hit 'em."

-Chesty Puller

4."Paperwork will ruin any military force."

-Chesty Puller

5."Where the hell do you put the bayonet."

-Chesty Puller

6."I assure you, Virginia, that I, never in my life, have ever made a statement that I like to fight."

-Chesty Puller

7."If you want to get the most out of our men, give them a break! Don't make them work completely in the dark. If you do, they won't do a bit more than they have to. But if they comprehend, they'll work like mad."

-Chesty Puller  

8."In the confederate army, an officer was judged by stark courage alone"

-Chesty Puller  

9."I've always believed that no officer's life, regardless of rank, is of such great value to his country that he should seek safety in the rear...officers should be forward with their men at the point of impact."

-Chesty Puller

10."You were absolutely correct in making him salute you 100 times, lieutenant, but you know that an officer must return every salute he receives. Now return them all, and I will keep count."

-Chesty Puller

Quotes From Chesty Puller On War

He was commissioned as a second lieutenant during World War II, was sent to Haiti and the battle of Chosin Reservoir, and to fight Caco Rebels. His men knew he had their backs since he had endured similar difficult situations and had been wounded in battles. They related to him and had respect for him. Here are some quotes on war and battle.

11."We've been looking for the enemy for some time now. We've finally found him. We're surrounded. That simplifies things."

-Chesty Puller, Battle of Chosin

12."The mail service has been excellent out here, and in my opinion, this is all that the Air Force has accompanied during the war."

-Chesty Puller

13."We make generals today on the basis of their ability to write a damned letter. Those kinds of men can't get us ready for war."

-Chesty Puller

14."All right, they're on our left, they're on our right, they're in front of us, they're behind us...they can't get away this time."

-Chesty Puller

15."If we are going to win the next war, in my opinion, 50 percent of the time of training should be allotted to night training."

-Chesty Puller  

16."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!"

 -Chesty Puller

17."What American people want to do is fight a war without getting hurt. You can't do that anymore than you get into a barroom fight without getting hurt..."

-Chesty Puller

18."Retreat!...we're just attacking in a different direction."

-Chesty Puller

19."The safest place in Korea was right behind a platoon of Marines. Lord, how they could fight. The Reds told us they were afraid to tangle with the marines and avoided them when they could be located."

-Chesty Puller

20."Hit hard, hit fast, hit often."

-Chesty Puller

Famous Chesty Puller Quotes

He was the only officer to receive five Navy crosses, two Legions of Merit, a silver star, and a distinguished service cross. Here are some inspirational Chesty Puller quotes.

Chesty Puller's son Lewis B. Puller won a Pulitzer Prize for his 1991 autobiography 'Fortunate Son: The Healing Of A Vietnam Vet'.

21."Don't forget that you're First Marines! Not all the communists in hell can overrun you!"

-Chesty Puller  

22."Old Breed? New Breed? There's not a damn bit of difference as long as it's the Marine breed."

-Chesty Puller

23."There are not enough chinamen in the world to stop a fully armed Marine regiment from going where ever they want to go."

-Chesty Puller

24."They are a damn site better than the US army, at least we know that they will be there in the morning."

-Chesty Puller  

25."Pain is weakness leaving the body."

-Chesty Puller

26."Take me to the brig. I want to see the real Marines."

-Chesty Puller

27."We're surrounded. That simplifies the problem."

-Chesty Puller

28."My definition, the definition that I've always believed in, is the esprit de corps means love for one's own military legion-in my case, the United Marine corps..."

-Chesty Puller

29."...It wouldn't be any sense to have a military organization on the backs of American taxpayers with any other definition."

-Chesty Puller

30."In the Marine corps, your buddy is not only your classmate or fellow officer, but he is also the marine under your command. If you don't prepare yourself to properly train him, lead him and support him..then you're going to let him down. That is unforgivable in the Marine Corps."

-Chesty Puller

31."...Officers should be forward with their men at the point of impact."

-Chesty Puller

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly quotes for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for Chesty Puller quotes then why not take a look at [Stonewall Jackson quotes],  or Cold War quotes.

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