Lieutenant General Lewis Burwell "Chesty" Puller
(June 26, 1898 October 11, 1971)
A United States Marine officer, notable as the most decorated Marine in history.
Puller, whose nickname was inspired by his barrel chest, was born in West Point, Virginia. He resigned from the Virginia Military Institute after his freshman year to enlist as a Private in the Marine Corps in August, 1918 (serial number 135517). American involvement in World War I was intensifying at the time; his reasoning for his enlistment is summed up in the (possibly apocryphal) quote, "I want to go where the guns are." Puller was unable to reach an overseas theater during the First World War, but remained on duty with the Marine Corps for the next 37 years. He was appointed to the rank of Second Lieutenant in the reserves on June 16, 1919, but reduction in force following the war led to his being put on inactive status on the 26th of that month.