Lt. General “Chesty Puller”

ChestyTrue story.  A retired Chesty was being awarded the General Knox Award for patriotism and I was a young NCO at the Marine barracks in Maine hosting.  We NCOs hired the CPO Club to hold a welcoming affair.  Meanwhile men started showing up from all the over the country, coming to the Main Gate of the Top Secret installation saying “I was with the old man on Guadalcanal” or “I was with the old man in Korea” and the Marine guards waved them in where they all headed for the CPO Club.  Then as this was happening the base commander a Navy Rear Admiral, frustrated by Chesty turning down the formal reception he wanted to organize crashed the NCO party with over hundred officers and their wives who lined up to meet Chesty and be photographed with him.  Chesty took it for a while but kept looking over to the bar where the Marines were standing three deep and glum.  Finally he announced in that loud gravely voice, “the hell with this I’m going over there with my men” and turning his back on the long line of Navy officers he shouldered his way up to the bar, threw some money down, started telling stories and there we stood for hours together, one old veteran after another pushing up to shake his hand with tears streaming down their face, young Marines in uniform listening to him like the voice of God.  “Chesty, Chesty, Chesty” we chanted as he finally walked out.

I don’t believe they make them like that any longer.