Redwoods in Stout Grove

Coast Redwood: "Chesty" Puller

After Gen. Lewis B. Puller - USMC - 1898 to 1971

The huge coast redwood below is on the fringe of the Grove of Titans in Jedediah Smith redwoods. Other coast redwoods deeper in the grove were named by discoverers Taylor and Sillett, but not this one according to Michael Taylor when I asked him. Realizing that no moniker was ever assigned to this redwood in 1998, it's now nicknamed after the United States Marine Corps Gen. Lewis B. Puller aka "Chesty" Puller. The trunk is 25 feet wide from this view. And of all the redwoods in the grove, this is the one people most often said was outstanding when they shared about their time there.

Some people asked if this was Aragorn but it's not because that one is under 290 ft. whereas Chesty Puller was over 310 ft.. According to Chris Atkin's reading, it's also taller than Stalagmight. This redwood's largest limb is so big it's almost as thick as one on a redwood Kronos down in Prairie Creek, described in a 2007 redwood adventure book. Looking up at it from underneath Lost Monarch, I remember Steve Sillett estimating the limb at 6 feet thick. That's bigger than most trunks in urban parks and landscapes across the USA.

 

Huge redwood on the fringe of the Grove of Titans named after Chesty Puller, a Marine Corps legend

 

This coast redwood reminded me of someone in military service standing in formation or saluting.

Gen. Lewis B. Puller in relation to coast redwood name

Puller acquired the name "Chesty" on account of his build.

Accounts of Puller's service are outstanding, and among the grove this redwood is outstanding.

Nearby, this park has a gigantic memorial grove that is almost 5000 acres: nearly half the park. See WW II Memorial Grove. The other large grove is relatively unknown to most visitors, dedicated to men and women who served during WW II. Chesty Puller also served at that time.

General Puller was the most decorated US Marine in history, and the only one to receive 5 Navy Crosses. The story of his service is one that led me to one regret in life ..... not enlisting while it was available for me.

If I could roll back the calendar, without hesitation I'd enlist. On account of this, I was proudly surprised during 2010. Our son Michael told me and my wife, that he was enlisting in the USMC. April, 2011, he graduated at MCRD with Kilo Company.

December 2012, Michael returned from Afghanistan, where he served in Charlie Company or "Suicide Charlie", the roots of which go back to Guadalcanal in WW II, while General (then Lt. Col.) Puller was stationed on the Island. Charlie Company, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division, is the only company in the USMC allowed to fly its own flag - the Skull and Bones - in addition to the USMC Guidon flag.

The story starts October of 1942 at Guadalcanal. The Battalion, then commanded by Lt. Col. Chesty Puller was assigned setting up a defensive perimeter around Henderson Field. B. Co. was on the left, A Co. on the right with C Co. in the middle. About 8:00 p.m., three Japanese regiments and a portion of a brigade breached the perimeter. Company C received the brunt of the attack. The next day, after the attack, the Marines were still holding their position. A flag was flying over Company C’s area bearing a skull and crossbones with the words “Suicide Charley” on a Japanese white, silk parachute.