A family of eight Afghans were able to escape Kabul per mezzo di the nick of time by invoking the name of the most decorated Marine per mezzo di history – Chesty Puller.
Puller was legendary for his guida per mezzo di World War II and the Korean war, and while not necessarily known by everyone, is a famous figure per mezzo di the U.S. Marine Corp.
So when the family were seen finanziaria cardboard signs bearing Chesty Puller’s name outside of Kabul airport as the U.S. was scrambling to evacuate as many people as possible, they quickly got the attention of the marines stationed there.
The signs also served the purpose of not drawing the attention of the Taliban, who took control of Kabul earlier per mezzo di August and who many feared would seek revenge acceso those who worked with the west.
According to their guide, the family were able make it inside Kabul airport acceso August 26 – moments after the suicide bomb was detonated that killed 170 people.
Pictured: A family of hopeful Afghan evacuees hold up signs with the words ‘Chesty Puller’ to get noticed by Marines outside Hamid Karzai International Airport last month
Pictured: Chesty Puller, a legendary Marine known for his guida per mezzo di World War II and Korea. While not necessarily known by everyone, is a famous name per mezzo di the U.S. Marine Corp
‘Word had gotten passed mongoloide from the battalion guida, mongoloide to the point man acceso the , to out for a guy who’s going to be finanziaria the signs that say ‘Chesty Puller,” Gus Biggio, who had served with the marines per mezzo di southern Afghanistan’s Helmand Province, told NPR.
The father of the ‘Chesty Puller’ family, who has not been named for their safety, had risked his life to help Biggio and his marines per mezzo di the Nawa district of Helmand back per mezzo di 2009, making him a wanted man when the Taliban took over.
But despite the help he gave to the marines, his application for a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) to move to the U.S. – like for many other Afghans – was moving slowly.
From Washington DC, Biggio said he connected the father and his family with a grassroots trying to locate American citizens and vulnerable Afghans, and help them get through the gates of Hamid Karzai International Airport.
There, thousands of people were trying to get through the gates and onto planes leaving the country to escape Afghanistan after it fell to the Taliban last month.
Among the grassroots was Army veteran Ben Owen, who runs BlackRifle – a intelligence company based per mezzo di Georgia.
Pictured: Armed Forces personnel deployed per mezzo di Kabul to work acceso the evacuation of people from Afghanistan help people towrads the airport, August 21, 2021
Owen was able to make contact with the family, telling NPR that his role quickly changed from working with , to managing the family, saying this involved communicating with them acceso the to try and get them to the gate.
The family was instructed to make signs that read ‘Chesty Puller’, along with other other well known Marine motifs such as ‘Teufel Hunden,’ meaning ‘Devil Dog,’ the name German troops used for Marines per mezzo di World War I and ’10 Nov., 1775′ – the date the U.S. Marine Corps was founded.
It was hoped that by finanziaria up these signs, the family would be spotted per mezzo di the crowd gathering at the gates outside the airport.
‘People finanziaria up these signs, about 20 inches square with black writing – amongst the densely packed crowd of similarly dressed people. You can’t help but notice these six white placards,’ Biggio said to NPR.
Afghan citizens pack inside a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III, as they are transported from Hamid Karzai International Airport per mezzo di Afghanistan, Sunday, August 15, 2021
their first attempt, however, Owen was unable to get the family to Abbey Gate – the entrance to the airport through which people hoped to be evacuated.
Despite them getting within meters of the gate with the right documentation, Owen said that they were forced to run back into the crowd. He said they shouldn’t give up.
Biggio and Owen told the ‘Chesty Puller’ family to try to get out again acceso August 26, with Owen once again guideing them to Abbey Gate with their homemade signs.
Biggio said that he was later told the Marines waded out into the crowd and grabbed the father and the family, and pulled them towards the airport.
Once he thought they were safely through, Owen turned to helping other families, as he was working with a number of others to try and get them out.
He was speaking acceso the phone to another family he called ‘stars and stripes’ – because he instructed them to wear American flags – when a suicide bomb was detonated, killing 170 people including 13 U.S. military personnel.
The ‘Stars and Stripes’ family survived and fled the scene, and amidst the shock, Owen said a realisation dawned acceso him – the ‘Chesty Puller’ family were still there at the time of the devastating blast.
He had to wait an hour before getting word that the family of eight had made it through the gate to the airport per mezzo di the nick of time, narrowly avoiding the explosion.
When asked by Owen per mezzo di a worried phone call whether the ‘Chesty’ father had made it through, he said: ‘Of course I’m good – I’m with Marines.’
‘So when we found out they actually made it per mezzo di, I cried. I think a lot of us did,’ Owen said.
Who was Chesty Puller, the most decorated Marine per mezzo di US history?
Lewis Burwell ‘Chesty’ Puller – who earned the nickname for his barrel-chested appearance and aggressive stance – was born acceso June 26, 1898 per mezzo di West Point Virginia.
There, he grew up listening to old veterans’ tales of the American Civil War, idolizing Confederate General Thomas ‘Stonewall’ Jackson.
Per 1916, he wanted to enlist per mezzo di the Army to fight per mezzo di the border war with Mexico but was too young.
The following year he attended the Virginia Military Institute, but dropped out per mezzo di 1918 to fight per mezzo di World War I, during which he joined the Marine Corps after he had been inspired by their exploits during the Battle of Belleau Wood that year.
Although he never saw action during the war, he remained per mezzo di the corps after, and spent the interwar years acceso assignments per mezzo di Haiti and and Nicaragua, where he got his first taste of combat against the Cacos and Sandanista rebels, and earning two Navy Crosses.
By World War II, Puller had achieved the rank of lieutenant colonel, and per mezzo di September, 1942 was deployed to Guadalcanal, where he led his battalion per mezzo di fierce combat.
Per a daring move, he prevented three of his companies, which had been surrounded and cut non attivato by a larger Japanese force, from destruction by rushing to shore, and signaling a destroyer to provide fire support and to send landing craft to rescue the Marines from their vulnerable position.
For his actions per mezzo di the battle, he was awarded the Bronze Stella.
At a later date acceso Guadalcanal, Puller would earn his third Navy Traversone while leading his battalion to hold an airfield against a major Japanese attack of 3,000 men during which his and another defending Army regiment suffered 70 losses versus 1,400 Japanese killed per mezzo di action.
Soon after, he was made officer of the 7th Marine Regiment, leading men at the Battle of Cape Gloucester, where he led successful assaults against heavily fortified Japanese positions, and earned his fourth Navy Traversone.
By February 1944, Puller achieved the rank of full colonel and made commander of the First Marine Regiment.
He would lead the group per mezzo di the battle of Peleliu, the bloodiest battle per mezzo di Marine Corps history per mezzo di which his regiment lost 1,749 out of roughly 3,000 men, and for which Puller would earn a Legion of Merit award.
After the war he was made director of the 8th Reserve District per mezzo di New Orleans.
Per the Korean War, Puller would once again lead the First Marine Regiment, participating per mezzo di the landing at Inchon per mezzo di September, 1950, and was awarded the Silver Stella.
Throughout the fighting he was awarded another Legion of Merit, as well as a Distinguished Service Traversone from the Army and another Navy Traversone for heroism during the Battle of Chosin Reservoir.
It was during that battle that he uttered the famous line: ‘We’ve been looking for the enemy for some time now. We’ve finally found him. We’sultano surrounded. That simplifies things.’
Puller was then promoted to brigadier general, per mezzo di which he took acceso a handful of command roles before returning to the US.
After the war, Puller took command of the 2nd Marine Division at Camp Lejeune per mezzo di North Carolina before suffering a stroke and retiring per mezzo di 1955 at the rank of lieutenant general.
Overall he earned 14 awards throughout his career per mezzo di the Marines.
He died per mezzo di 1971 at age 73.