Lt. Gen. Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller’s battlefield heroics from Nicaragua, World War II and Korea, earned him five Navy Crosses and near divine reverence among Marines past and present.
While his five Navy Crosses are often the bulk of Puller stories and lore — he also earned a Silver Star during the Korean War.
Puller was awarded the Silver Star for “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity” as he commanded the successful landing of the 1st Marine Division at Inchon on Sept. 15, 1950, during the Korean War, according to an award citation.
Puller’s Silver Star award citation provided few details of the storied commander’s landing at Inchon.
But, according to the National Museum of the Marine Corps, Puller was awarded the Silver Star by Army Gen. Douglas MacArthur as “symbol of respect” for the Inchon landing. MacArthur commanded American and United Nation forces during the Korean War.
The bold landing at Inchon was a major gamble by MacArthur. Critics of the Army general’s plan noted Korean defenses, a heavily mined approach to the port and obstacles like seawalls.
Puller, who was born on June 26, 1898, is perhaps the most famous and recognizable Marine.
Marines across the Corps are likely celebrating his birthday June 26 with weird ceremonies, bizarre offerings and ending the evening with shouts of, “Goodnight, Chesty Puller, wherever you are!”
Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.