Marine Corps Barracks, Washington D.C. (January 25, 2024): "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." U.S. Marine Chesty Puller. These words from America’s most decorated Marine typify the courage and tenacity of the Corps. In this photo by Lance Cpl. Chloe McAfee, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Chesty XVI, the Marine Corps mascot, stands at attention while Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro promotes him from the rank of private first class to Corporal during a ceremony at Marine Barracks Washington, Jan. 17, 2024.
In 1957, the Corps adopted the tenacious bulldog as its mascot in honor of Puller who was awarded five Navy Crosses and one Distinguished Service Cross for bravery across three wars and two counterinsurgency campaigns. With six crosses, Puller is second behind Eddie Rickenbacker for citations of the nation's second-highest military award for valor. Puller retired from the Marine Corps in 1955 after 37 years of service and he died in 1971 at age 73.
To this day, the unofficial “lights out” slogan of the Marines is “Good night, Chesty, wherever you are.”