December 13, 2017

Gen. MAD DOG Mattis! “no better friend, no worse enemy”!

MAD DOG Mattis

MAD DOG! “no better friend, no worse enemy”!

by Beverley Russell – Op-ed senior journalist Trumpville Report  ‘and Daily Ragg Feature writer

The perfect choice, for a President Trump Administration. A man of Honor and Integrity!

President-elect Donald Trump announced Thursday night that he will “appoint” retired Marine Gen. James “Mad Dog” Mattis to be his secretary of defense. Trump calls Mattis the “real deal.”

James N. Mattis (born September 8, 1950) is a retired United States Marine Corps general who has served over 4 decades, last serving as the 11th commander of United States Central Command from August 11, 2010, to March 22, 2013.

To take the job, Mattis will need Congress to pass new legislation to bypass a federal law. Under US law, a retired officer must be out of uniform for at least seven years before he or she can serve as Defense Secretary. The Republican-controlled Congress will need to approve legislation bypassing the requirement so he can take up the role.

But at least one Democratic senator, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, says she will not approve a waiver.

“Civilian control of our military is a fundamental principle of American democracy,” Ms. Gillibrand said in a statement, “and I will not vote for an exception to this rule.

Mattis received the backing of Senator John McCain, chairman of the armed services committee, who will conduct his confirmation hearing. “He is without a doubt one of the finest military officers of his generation and an extraordinary leader who inspires a rare and special admiration of his troops,” Senator McCain said in a statement. “America will be fortunate to have General Mattis in its service once again.”

Mattis, 66, retired as the chief of U.S. Central Command in spring 2013 after serving more than four decades in the Marine Corps. He is known as one of the most influential military leaders of his generation, serving as a strategic thinker while occasionally drawing rebukes for his aggressive talk. Since retiring, he has served as a consultant and as a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution, a think tank at Stanford University.

Like Trump, Mattis favors a tougher stance against U.S. adversaries abroad, especially Iran. The general, speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in April, said that while security discussions often focus on terrorist groups such as the Islāmic State or al-Qaeda, the Iranian regime is “the single most enduring threat to stability and peace in the Middle East.”

“In terms of strengthening America’s global standing among European and Midwestern nations alike, the sense is that America has become somewhat irrelevant in the Middle East, and we certainly have the least influence in 40 years,” Mattis said.

“The president-elect is smart to think about putting someone as respected as Jim Mattis in this role,” said a former senior Pentagon official. “He’s a warrior, scholar, and straight shooter — literally and figuratively. He speaks truth to everyone and would certainly speak truth to this new commander-in-chief.”

Mattis, whose nicknames include “Mad Dog” and the “Warrior Monk,” has had a leading hand in some of the U.S. military’s most significant operations in the past 20 years. As a one-star general, he led an amphibious task force of Marines that carried out a November 2001 raid in helicopters on Afghanistan’s Kandahar province, giving the Pentagon a new foothold against the Taliban after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Using the call sign “Chaos,” he commanded a division of Marines during the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 and returned there the following year to lead Marines in bloody street fighting in the city of Fallujah.

Mattis continued to rise through the ranks and establish his credentials as a military thinker, co-authoring the U.S. military’s new counter-insurgency manual with then-Army Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus, while Mattis was a three-star general at Quantico, Va.

He was considered a leading contender to become commandant of the Marine Corps in 2010 but was passed over, in favor of Gen. James F. Amos. Instead, Mattis replaced Petraeus as the chief of Central Command, overseeing U.S. military operations across the Middle East.

Even though Central Command did not encompass Israel, Mattis made a concerted effort to reach out to his Israeli military counterparts, according to Steven Simon, who worked with Mattis when he served on Obama’s National Security Council.

Simon, who now teaches at Amherst College, said Mattis made frequent stops in Israel during trips to the region, part of an effort to encourage the Jewish state and its Arab neighbors to work together to counter Iranian influence. “They respected Mattis because they saw him as a straight shooter and a good listener,” Simon said of the Israelis and Arabs.

The general retired from that position in 2013 about five months earlier than expected, prompting speculation that he was forced out after clashing with some in the Obama administration, on Iran policy. U.S. officials denied that was the case at the time, and Mattis declined to comment.

Gen. MAD DOG Mattis”, He’s our best,” Mr. President Elect Trump said, as he announced his pick in a speech in Ohio.

Gen. Mattis, was an outspoken critic of the Obama administration’s Middle East policy, particularly on Iran. He has referred to Iran as “the single most enduring threat to stability and peace in the Middle East”.

“We are going to appoint ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis as our Secretary of Defense,” President-Elect Trump told the crowd. “They say he’s the closest thing to General George Patton [World War Two commander] that we have.”

Mattis most recently served as the head of U.S. Central Command. A lifelong bachelor, he is known as the “warrior monk” for his knowledge of ancient and military history.

The four-star general is revered by many for his leadership and also known for his blunt words.

A fellow Marine Corps officer says this was Mattis’ simple philosophy.  Even if he didn’t like an assignment he was given, his attitude was to always do the best that he could.

Mad Dog Mattis Straight Talk

After being promoted to lieutenant-general, Mattis took command of Marine Corps Combat Development Command. On February 1, 2005, speaking ad libitum at a forum in San Diego, he said “You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn’t wear a veil. You know, guys like that ain’t got no manhood left anyway. So it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them. Actually, it’s a lot of fun to fight. You know, it’s a hell of a hoot. It’s fun to shoot some people. I’ll be right upfront with you, I like brawling.” Mattis’ remarks sparked controversy and General Michael Hagee, Commandant of the Marine Corps, issued a statement suggesting that Mattis should have chosen his words more carefully, but would not be disciplined.

Memorable Mad Dog quotes

  • “Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.”
  • “Marines don’t know how to spell the word defeat.”
  • “You are part of the world’s most feared and trusted force. Engage your brain before you engage your weapon.”
  • “Marines who can do the necessary ‘rough work,’ but without becoming evil by doing so, despite an enemy who has opened apocalyptically the aperture for who they target, to include even women and children,” Mattis said. “It’s all the more important today that we hold to our precious legacy of ferocious, ethical combat performance. For in a world awash in change, Americans need to have confidence in the everlasting character of our Marines.”

“But there was another word that I learned to prioritize as I evaluated units, and that word was affection,” Gen. Mattis.

In a Marines video posted on Oct. 13, 2016, Mattis revealed his “leadership lessons” from his 41-year long career in the corps.

“It’s not popularity, with all the favoritism that comes with trying to be a popular person as a leader. That’s a road to failure,” Mattis said. “But affection that you create in a unit, a real affection so strong that the troops will stick by one another and carry out the mission even in peril.”

Mattis is known for implementing the COIN strategy. Before President Obama appointed him to replace General Petraeus on August 11, 2010, he previously commanded United States Joint Forces Command from November 9, 2007, to August 2010 and served concurrently as NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Transformation from November 9, 2007, to September 8, 2009. Prior to that, he commanded, I Marine Expeditionary Force, United States Marine Forces Central Command, and 1st Marine Division during the Iraq War.

Military career

He initially enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1969. He later earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Central Washington University and was commissioned a second lieutenant through ROTC on January 1, 1972. During his service years, Mattis was considered to be an intellectual among the upper ranks, with his personal library numbering more than 7,000 volumes. Major General Robert H. Scales, Retired, PhD, described him as “….one of the most urbane and polished men I have known.” Reinforcing this intellectual persona was the fact he carried his own personal copy of the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius throughout his deployments.

As a lieutenant, Mattis served as a rifle and weapons platoon commander in the 3rd Marine Division. As a captain, he was assigned as the Naval Academy Preparatory School’s Battalion Officer (composed of Enlisted Midshipman Candidates and its Company Officers and Enlisted Staff), commanded Rifle and Weapons Companies in the 1st Marine Regiment, then Recruiting Station Portland, Oregon, as a major.

Persian Gulf War

Upon promotion to the rank of lieutenant colonel, Mattis commanded 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, which was one of Task Force Ripper’s assault battalions during the Persian Gulf War.

Afghanistan War

As a colonel, Mattis commanded the 7th Marine Regiment. He led the 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade as its commanding officer upon promotion to brigadier general.

During the initial planning for the War in Afghanistan, Mattis led Task Force 58 in operations in the southern part of the country, becoming the first Marine Corps officer to ever command a Naval Task Force in combat.

While serving in Afghanistan as a brigadier general, he was known as an officer who engaged his men with “real leadership”. A young Marine officer named Nathaniel Fick cited an example of that leadership, when he witnessed Mattis in a fighting hole talking with a sergeant and a lance corporal:, “No one would have questioned Mattis if he’d slept eight hours each night in a private room, to be woken each morning by an aide who ironed his uniforms and heated his MREs. But there he was, in the middle of a freezing night, out on the lines with his Marines.”

Iraq War

As a major-general, Mattis commanded the 1st Marine Division during the 2003 invasion of Iraq and subsequent stability operations during the Iraq War.

Following a U.S. Department of Defense survey that showed only 55% of American soldiers and 40% of U.S. Marines would report a colleague for abusing civilians, Mattis told U.S. Marines in May 2007 that “Whenever you show anger or disgust toward civilians, it’s a victory for al-Qaeda and other insurgents.” Reflecting an understanding of the need for restraint in war as key to defeating an insurgency, he added that “Every time you wave at an Iraqi civilian, al-Qaeda rolls over in its grave.”

Mattis popularized the 1st Marine Division’s motto “no better friend, no worse enemy”, a paraphrase of the famous self-made epitaph for the Roman dictator Sulla, in his open letter to all men within the division for their return to Iraq. This phrase later became widely publicized during the investigation into the conduct of Lieutenant Ilario Pantano, a platoon commander serving under Mattis.

As his division prepared to ship out, Mattis called in experts in Arab culture to lead cultural sensitivity classes. He constantly toured the battlefield to tell stories of Marines who were able to show discretion and cultural sensitivity in moments of high pressure. He encouraged his men to grow mustaches to look more like the people they were working with.

He also was noted for a willingness to remove senior leaders under his command at a time when the U.S. military seemed unable or unwilling to relieve underperforming or incompetent officers. During the division’s push to Baghdad, Mattis relieved Colonel Joe D. Dowdy, regimental commander of Regimental Combat Team-1, and it was such a rare occurrence in the modern military that it made the front page of newspapers. Despite this, Mattis declined to comment on the matter publicly other than to say that the practice of officer relief remains alive, or at least “We are doing it in the Marines.” Later interviews of Dowdy’s officers and men revealed that “the colonel was doomed partly by an age-old wartime tension: Men versus mission—in which he favored his men” while Mattis insisted on execution of the mission to seize Baghdad swiftly.

U.S. Joint Forces Command

Mattis testifies before the Committee on Armed Services during his confirmation hearing for appointment to Commander.

The Pentagon announced on May 31, 2006, that Lieutenant General Mattis was chosen to take command of I Marine Expeditionary Force, based out of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. On September 11, 2007, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced, that President George W. Bush had nominated Mattis for appointment to the rank of general, to command U.S. Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, Virginia. NATO agreed to appoint Mattis as Supreme Allied Commander Transformation. On September 28, 2007, the United States Senate confirmed Mattis’ nomination, and he relinquished command of I MEF on November 5, 2007 to Lieutenant General Samuel Helland.

Mattis was promoted to four-star general and took control of JFCOM/SACT on November 9, 2007. He transferred the job of SACT to French General Stéphane Abrial on September 9, 2009, but continued in command of JFCOM.

U.S. Central Command

In early 2010, Mattis was reported to be on the list of U.S. Marine generals being considered for selection to replace James T. Conway as the Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps. In July, he was recommended by Defense Secretary Robert Gates for nomination to replace David Petraeus as commander of United States Central Command, and formally nominated by President Barack Obama on July 21.

His confirmation by the Senate Armed Services Committee marked the first time Marines had held billets as commander and deputy commander of a Unified Combatant Command. He took command at a ceremony at MacDill Air Force Base on August 11.

As head of Central Command, Mattis oversaw the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and was responsible for a region that includes Syria, Iran, Yemen.

He retired from the Marine Corps on May 22, 2013.

Civilian career

Since retirement from the military, Mattis has worked for FWA Consultants and also serves as a Member of the General Dynamics Board of Directors. In August 2013, he became an Annenberg Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution and has since been named as their Davies Family Distinguished Visiting Fellow.

In December 2015, Mattis joined the advisory board of Spirit of America – a 501c3 nonprofit organization that provides assistance to support the safety and success of American troops and the local people they seek to help.

He is co-editor of the book, Warriors & Citizens: American Views of Our Military, published in August 2016.

Personal life

Mattis receiving the Distinguished Military Leadership Award, from Michael Mullen at the annual Atlantic Council Awards Gala in Washington, D.C.

Mattis is a graduate of the U.S. Marine Corps Amphibious Warfare School, U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and the National War College. Mattis is also noted for his intellectualism and interest in the study of military history and world history, with a personal library that once included over 7,000 volumes, and a penchant for publishing required reading lists for Marines under his command. Mattis is a life-long bachelor, who has never been married and has no children. He is nicknamed “The Warrior Monk” because of his bachelor life, and the fact he devoted his life to studying and fighting wars. He is known for the intellectual rigor he puts on his Marines and his belief in risk-management, and in the need for troops under his command to read widely about the cultural norms and history of the area they are sent to, as he himself does. Before deploying to Iraq, Mattis ensured his troops were given courses on Arab culture and cultural sensitivity classes.

Military awards

Mattis’ decorations, awards, and badges include:

  • Defense Distinguished Service Medal.
  • Navy Distinguished Service Medal Defense Superior. Service Medal Office of the Secretary of Defense Legion of Merit Bronze Star Medal w/Combat “V”Meritorious Service Medal w/ two Gold Stars.
  • Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.
  • Combat Action Ribbon.
  • Navy Presidential Unit Citation.
  • Joint Meritorious Unit Award.
  • Navy Unit Commendation
  • Navy and Marine Corps Meritorious Unit Commendation.
  • Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal.
  • National Defense Service Medal bronze stars.
  • Southwest Asia Service Medal w/ two bronze stars.
  • Afghanistan Campaign Medal w/ one bronze star.
  • Iraq Campaign Medal w/ one bronze star.
  • Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal w/ one bronze star.
  • Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.
  • Humanitarian Service Medal.
  • Sea Service Ribbon w/ one silver star and two bronze stars.
  • Marine Corps Recruiting Service Ribbon w/ one bronze star.
  • Polish Army Medal in gold.
  • NATO Meritorious Service Medal.
  • NATO Medal for Service with ISAF.
  • Kuwait Liberation Medal.
  • (Saudi Arabia)Kuwait Liberation Medal.
  • (Kuwait)Rifle Expert Badge.
  • Pistol Expert Badge.
  • Civilian awards

Civilian awards include:

  1. 2009 – Center for National Policy’s Edmund S. Muskie Distinguished Public Service Award.
  2. 2010 – Atlantic Council’s Distinguished Military Leadership Award.
  3. 2013 – World Affairs Council of Greater Hampton Roads “Ryan C. Crocker Global Citizen of the Year” Award.
  4. 2014 – Marine Corps University Foundation Semper Fidelis Award.
  5. 2014 – Washington College honorary doctor of laws degree.

In popular culture, Mattis is portrayed by Robert John Burke in the 2008 HBO mini-series Generation Kill.

What better choice for Secretary of Defense, than a man who has studied and lived war for nearly 5 decades? Gen. Mattis is 66 years old, with all of his achievements serving in the Military, one would have to think at 16, “Teenager” James Mattis, was already feeling the pull of military life. Some people are simply meant to do a certain job. Its more of their “life” than their job. General James Mattis is one of those people. He was meant to be a Warrior, and he’s dang good at it!

Good Call Mr. President Elect Donald Trump!


by Beverley Russell – Op-ed senior journalist Trumpville Report  ‘and Daily Ragg Feature writer

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