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“War Is Absolute Hell”

    Chesty is a legend among enlisted Marines. He was tough, inspirational, and a straight-shooter in more ways than one. He always took care of the enlisted first. I remember him advising his officers when we were out in the field one time that he “would transfer them to Butte, Montana” if they ate before their men did. I still don’t know what Chesty had against Butte. I don’t think there is any question he ranks with the finest combat leaders the U.S. has produced. He and Army General George Patton were distant cousins. Patton was no slouch himself, and this is what “Old Blood and Guts” said in 1945 to his command in Europe about Marines in the Pacific: “I want you boys to hurry up and whip these Germans so we can get out to the Pacific to kick the shit out of the purple-pissing Japanese before the Goddamned Marines get all the credit.”

  Chesty had a stark description of war and fought it in the same way: “War is absolute hell. To win you have to kill everyone in sight, then let the politicians sort it out. You don’t hurt ‘em if you don’t kill ‘em.” His sayings while in combat are beyond legend: “So they’ve got us surrounded—good! Now we can fire in any direction—those bastards won’t get away this time!”