Fortunate Son: The Autobiography of Lewis B. Puller, Jr
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Lewis B. Puller, Jr.'s memoir is a moving story of a man born into a proud military legacy who struggles to rebuild his world after the Vietnam War has shattered his body and his ideals. Raised in the shadow of his father, Marine General Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, a hero of five wars, young Lewis went to Southeast Asia at the height of the Vietnam War and served with distinction as an officer in his father's beloved Corps. But when he tripped a booby-trapped howitzer round, triggering an explosion that would cost him his legs, his career as a soldier ended, and the battle to reclaim his life began.
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Fortunate Son: The Healing of a Vietnam Vet is the story of Lewis B. Puller, USMC, the son of Lt. General Chesty Puller, USMC, the most decorated Marine in history and the man who came to exemplify what being a Marine means (read his biography in Chesty by Colonel Jon T. Hoffman). To walk in his footsteps, especially as a Marine officer, took a courage that surfaced in this mild-mannered boy when he was grievously injured during the Vietnam War. In 1968, just one year after joining the Marines, he stepped on a land mine and had both legs and parts of his hands blown off. He spent the balance of his life struggling to overcome the damage, succeeding for almost fifteen years and then succombing to alcoholism and suicide.He became yet one more victim of the Vietnam War, as Toddy Puller said in a press interview, "To the list of names of victims of the Vietnam War, add the name of Lewis Puller (Jr.). He suffered terrible wounds that never really healed." During his brief active-duty military career, Puller earned the Silver Star, two Purple Hearts, the Navy Commendation Medal and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry.
The battle he fought to live a productive meaningful life when his injuries threatened to destroy his spirit and his purpose, is the story behind the Pulitzer Prize-winning story, Fortunate Son. He now rests in peace in Section 3, Grave Number 2229 of Arlington National Cemetery.
Should be required reading for every school child. Heart breaking.