Thousands of people emerged from war having done heroic and unforgettable actions, each through their unique ways and stories, even when in many cases, it meant giving up their own lives for a greater cause. The US Marine Corps knows just that, as they have created a lot of legendary Marines since they were founded on November 10, 1775.
Here are some of our Leatherneck heroes:
Sgt. Maj. Daniel J. Daly
As for how Maj. Gen. Smedley Buttler described Gunny Daley, he was “the fightin’est Marine I ever knew.” With a height of 5’6″ and a weight of 132 pounds, Maj. Gen. Smedley was not entirely wrong. Perhaps it was his fearlessness that compensated for his lack of size, as Daly was anything but short of it. His most famous deed was then he single-handedly stood his ground in Peking during the Boxer Rebellion in the 45-foot-tall Tartar wall while a Marine officer called for reinforcements. The insurgent stormed the American position while he was being showered with sniper fire that pinged off the rocks as he waited. Daly, with his boldness, fought off the whole attack, successfully leaving a string of dead enemies until the reinforcements arrived.
Daly received two Medal of Honor citations for what he did and another one for his role in resisting an ambush by rebels in Haiti.
Gunnery Sgt. John Basilone
John Basilone served in the US Army in the Philippines initially before he switched to the Marine Corps when World War II ensued. His actions at Guadalcanal earned him a Medal of Honor, while his actions at Iwo Jima earned him a Navy Cross that was given posthumously.
It was during the fight in Guadalcanal when he placed two machine gun teams being barraged with enemy fire and then manned the third gun under his name. He managed to kill 38 enemy soldiers and singlehandedly closed a breach in the lines so he could resupply those who were trapped with ammunition. Later on, he also destroyed a Japanese blockhouse on his own and also guided a tank through a minefield, artillery, and mortar barrages at Iwo Jima. He was hit with shrapnel and killed while escorting the tank.
Col. John Glenn
One of the most famous members of the US Marine Corps for being the first American to orbit the earth, Col. John Glenn also served in the Marine Corps career. He was a decorated Devil Dog with six Distinguished Flying Crosses, 18 Air Medals, and the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.
All in all, he flew 122 combat missions both in World War II and Korea, achieving three air-to-air kills credited to him. During a mission in Korea, his wingman had engine trouble even before enemy MiGs attacked him. What he did was he turned into the enemy jets and chased them off. In the process, he was able to kill one of them while giving his partner time to return to safety.
Lt. Gen. Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller
Lt. Gen. Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller was part of the US Marines in World War I, although the bar had already ended even before he had the chance to be deployed.
During World War II in the Pacific Theater, he was tasked to lead an American advance that succeeded against a huge Japanese force at Guadalcanal.
In the Korean War, he and his marines performed a dangerous mission of conducting fighting withdrawal from the Chosin Reservoir that severed the Chinese divisions. He remains one of America’s most decorated warriors with 5 Navy Crosses and numerous other distinguished awards.
Even now, Marines often hit their racks with a “Goodnight Chesty, wherever you are.”