A statue honoring a Marine icon was dedicated this Veterans Day in Semper Fidelis Memorial Park, adjacent to the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle, Va.
Lt. Gen. Lewis Burwell “Chesty” Puller was the most decorated Marine in history. He was a veteran of World War II and the Korean War and various other military campaigns. He is said to be the only Marine to be awarded five Navy crosses.
The eight-foot bronze sculpture was donated to the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation by the Marine Corps League. The sculptor, Terry Jones of Jones Sculpture, is also a Marine. His meticulouslyl-researched rendering of Lt. Gen. Puller captures the general’s characteristic smoking pipe, .45-caliber sidearm, 1942 naval binoculars and “USMC” uniform lettering, officials said.
Observers might say the statue captures descriptions of Chesty Puller’s spirit as well. With one arm pointing forward and determination written across his face, the bronze Puller appears ready to lead his Marines over the next rise.
Puller was born in 1898 in West Point, Va. He enrolled in Virginia Military Institute in 1917 but left after the first year to fight in World War I. The war ended before he got to the front, but Puller eventually saw battle in numerous campaigns. He retired in 1955 and died in 1971 in Hampton, Va.
According to Marine Corps lore, boot camp recruits still end the day with the declaration, “Good night, Chesty Puller, wherever you are.”
Members of Puller’s family attended Monday’s dedication.