Tomorrow, Monday, June 26, 2017, is the birthday of a Marine’s Marine.  That being, Lewis “Chesty” Puller (1898).  He was the most decorated Marine in the history of the Corps.  He was awarded the Silver Star, a Distinguished Service Cross, Five Navy Crosses (the Navy's highest decoration just below the Metal of Honor), two Legions of Merit with "V" device, the Bronze Star with "V" device, the Bronze Star, the Air Medal and the Purple Heart.  He had enlisted as a Private and rose to the rank of Lieutenant General, which was the second highest rank in the Marines.  From the number of ribbons on his chest, it might be concluded that his nickname, “Chesty”, had reference to that.  However, he became known as “Chesty” long before he won most of his ribbons.  His nickname was because of his massive chest, his chest-out marching style, and his absolutely fearlessness and devotion to duty.  
While in boot camp, General Chesty Puller was often quoted by our Drill Instructors.  He was known for his quotable quotes nearly as much as his battlefield accomplishments.  While serving in Korea enveloped by Chinese troops, he told his regiment, “We’ve been looking for the enemy for several days now.  We’ve finally found them. We are surrounded. That simplifies the problem.”  Also, “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.”
I was struck by something said about Chesty Puller.  There was nothing about his spiritual situation or that he had a relationship with the Lord Jesus.  The closest anything I read about him was a statement which stated: “In prayer every night with his son...”  That was encouraging to me, until it continued, “...he invoked the names of his two boyhood heroes, Robert E. Lee and ‘Stonewall’ Jackson.”  That Chesty Puller prayed “every night” with his son sounded good, but that he “invoked” two men in the prayers wasn’t very encouraging to me about the content of his prayer.  It would be very sad that, with all his accomplishment in life, if Chesty Puller did not also invoke the name of Jesus Christ. (PHIL. 4:13).
Our nation owes a great debt to Chesty Puller for his service to our country and his leadership that helped lead the United States to victory in World War II, Korea, and other battles from 1917 through 1955.  However, Jesus declared the bottom line of all lives, including Chesty Puller, in MATT. 16:26, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” 
Another statement General Puller made reminded me of something out of my past.  He was a cadet in the Virginia Military Institute when World War I was raging.  He dropped out at the end of his freshman year to enlist in the Marines.  He said, “I want to go where the guns are.”  That reminded me of my first year of the seminary.  I felt the Lord was going to return before I finished the seminary.  I wanted to quit and get out on the field to pastor churches - I too wanted to “go where the ‘guns’ (actions) were.”  Of course, Chesty quit but I didn’t.  His war ended before he entered but the war I wanted to get into is still going on today.  For me, my temptation was in 1970, but I not only finished school but pastored churches well over 40 years afterward.  I don’t know if Chesty regretted his decision to quit but I’m thankful I didn’t.
Jesse R. Spurlock
Pastor Emeritus,
Highland Park Baptist Church


305 W. Jarman Dr.,

Midwest City, OK 73110

(405) 830-3940

e-mail: jesse.spurlock@cox.net

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