A little story about our potential SecDef

I’m sure most of my readers know that retired US Marine General James N. Mattis is being considered for the post of Secretary of Defense by President-elect Donald Trump.  His uncompromising stance and sometimes . . . ah . . . expressive rhetoric have raised a few eyebrows (not to mention concerns).  I’d have to say he seems like a modern version of Chesty Puller, from all I’ve heard – a “Marine’s Marine” – and I can’t think that’s a bad thing.  If he’s appointed SecDef, I expect at least two-thirds of the Marine Corps to be heavily hung-over the morning after the announcement, and the entire Marine Corps to be under the weather the morning after he’s sworn in!

Be that as it may. Gorges’ Grouse has a heartwarming story about him back when he was a Brigadier-General.  Go read it for yourself.  It shows the more human side of the man – and a background that, sadly, few Secretaries of Defense have had, for far too long.

EDITED TO ADD:  The original link seems to have gone down, so here’s another link to the same story.



  1. Sounds like a good man.
    It reminds me of the year that George W. Bush not only surprised the troops in Iraq, but stood with other generals to serve them dinner.

  2. When you read that story, realize that the BACKGROUND is that the Commandant of the Marine Corps was up at 4 AM delivering home made cookies to his enlisted and junior officer men who had the duty on Christmas day.

    What have we done to deserve such men?

  3. There'll be no living with the Marines after this….

    Honestly, we could do a lot worse, and perhaps a bit of a more abrupt approach is what's needed in the DoD.

  4. Mattis as SecDef would be the dream appointment. Needs a good supporting staff, though. Who'd be good choices as SecNav, SecArmy, and SecAF? (If I could reincarnate John Boyd for SecAF, I would, but…)

  5. I was in Kuwait as the NCO in charge of the network op center just prior to the Iraq war. As Air Force permanent party we went from a base that could support about 800 people to 15,000 with the addition of the Marines. With the addition the MEF I worked with my Marine counterpart to make sure they had the communications they needed.

    The practice of senior personnel working holidays to give the younger ones time off is fairly common. I was pulling a double shift on Christmas there at Al Jaber. I was working the Help Desk that evening when BG Mattis waked in with a bag of cookies.

    It was also common to see BG Mattis eating with the enlisted in the chow hall and talking to them.

  6. Like Chesty Puller, Gen Mattis is a officer we other Marines would follow right through the gates of hell and kick old Satan's ass. Semper Fi.

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