|Lew "Chuckler" Juergens|
Chuckler just before landing on Guadalcanal.
Private First Class, Corporal (demoted several times)
Battle of Cape Gloucester
Battle of Peleliu
Deceased as of 1982
Private First Class Lewis Reuben "Lew" "Chuckler" Juergens was a Marine in the 1st Marine Division who was a friend of Robert Leckie.
Lew was born in Cook County, Illinois on 22nd October 1918.
According to his memoirs, Robert Leckie met Chuckler some time after Pfc. Bill "Hoosier" Smith and they immediately became friends because of Chuckler's easygoing nature. They made friends with Hoosier shortly after and met Pfc. Wilbur "Bud" "Runner" Conley soon after that. Eventually, it was clear, in Robert Leckie's words, that Chuckler's word was going to have the most weight, simply because he could rely on Runner's support. Thus, Chuckler became the group's unofficial leader.
Battle of the Tenaru
Chuckler is first seen in a navy ship destined for Guadalcanal. He brags that fighting the Japanese will be like a turkey shoot just before the marines land on the beach. Chuckler, Leckie, Runner, and Hoosier were later part of the group who went to the Tenaru. Leckie was Chuckler's machine gun assistant during this time. That night, the Japanese attacked, causing Chuckler and Leckie to shoot down wave by wave of enemy soldiers, while also moving often to different positions. After the Battle of the Tenaru, Chuckler and Leckie meet back up with their friends, and Leckie recounts Chuckler's earlier statement, which turned out to be right. Chuckler is later promoted to the rank of Corporal by Lt. Hugh "Ivy League" Corrigan, leaving him embarrassed, however, Corrigan didn't promote the equally deserving Leckie, which left the latter with a deep resentment of the officer.
Later in Guadalcanal
Chuckler is later seen in one of the many raids on the recently transferred army division's supplies, for the marines were being neglected in favor of the army. Chuckler is then seen listening to Robert Leckie read a letter to his friend Vera Keller. Some time later, he can be seen eating peaches stolen by Leckie from the army.
That night, Chuckler and his friends had to endure a heavy bombardment by the Japanese. They survive, but they are visibly shell-shocked by the event.
He is later seen in a navy ship headed for Melbourne, where a crewman tells him and his friends that the 1st Marine Regiment was regarded as heroes back home.
Chuckler plays a minor but pivotal role in the third episode. When the marines arrived at Melbourne, Chuckler, Leckie and Runner go AWOL to enjoy the sights. After a few days the Marines are put back in harness with a 100 mile march. The next night Chuckler has fire and security watch. Needing desperately to make a head call, Chuckler hands Leckie his web belt and sidearm, then rushes off to relieve himself. Distraught over Stella's rejection and drunk from trying to drown his sorrows, Lucky is grossly insubordinate to a Lieutenant, & Chuckler returns from his head call just in time to intervene before things get worse. Chuckler and Leckie are thrown in the brig for the night. Afterwards, Leckie is booted from the unit, transferred to intelligence and reconnaissance, & (not portrayed in the television series) Chuckler loses his rank, busted from Corporal to PFC and brigged for an additional ten days where he was shaved bald many times.
Running Afoul of the MP
Chuckler would later go AWOL with Leckie, Runner, and another marine nicknamed "Chicken" in Leckie's memoirs. Chuckler, Leckie and Chicken eventually meet up after being tracked by the MP. They almost manage to get back to where they needed to be without getting caught when an overzealous Lieutenant arrives and arrests them. Chuckler, who just got his stripes back, loses them again and had to endure the bread and water punishment.
Chuckler only plays a relatively minor role in the following episode. He is first seen in Cape Gloucester operating a machine gun with Runner, then he makes a few more appearences after.
Prior to Peleliu
At Pavuvu, Chuckler is first seen comforting Runner as the latter was suffering from malaria. He is later seen pointing Corpsman Stern towards Leckie, who was not moving, and was suffering from nocturnal enurisis at the time. Chuckler later appears in his cabin, welcoming Leckie back in his usual manner. Chuckler only has some minor appearences from then on.
Chuckler later joins the invasion of Peleliu. At some point, Chuckler goes missing, but he survives, albeit wounded, and he is seen later being greeted by Eugene Sledge as he is carried on a stretcher by other marines. According to Runner, Chuckler was wounded by a mortar when the shell tore off a chunk near his crotch. At one time, Chuckler was next to a wounded replacement from Texas and tried to comfort him, but it was no use, and the replacement died.
Chuckler later reunited with Leckie, Runner, and Hoosier in San Diego off-screen. Eventually, they were split up once more, and Chuckler never appears in the series again from that point on.
After the War
Chuckler survives the war, and was discharged two weeks after Victory in Japan Day. He married and worked as a steamfitter in Chicago. Chuckler remained friends with Leckie, Runner, and Hoosier even until his death in 1982.
Personality and Traits
With his easygoing and outspoken nature, it is easy to see how Chuckler got his nickname. Chuckler seems to hold great regard for his friends, seeing as how he remained friends with them until the end of his days.
- Chuckler is the only one of Leckie's friends to get past the rank of Private First Class, even if he only had the rank of Corporal for three episodes.
- Both Chuckler and Leckie were busted down to Private in Episode 3.
- Besides his unit's encounter with the 7th Marine Regiment, Chuckler is notable for being one of the only characters to meet another main character (Eugene Sledge) outside of the storyline that he was introduced in.
- Chuckler has been described as having blond hair in Leckie's memoirs, however, he is depicted as having brown hair in the series, and maybe even in the picture on the left.
- Last of Leckie's friends to be evacuated from Peleliu.
- First of Leckie's friends to become deceased after the war.