President-elect Donald Trump will nominate retired Marine Gen. James Mattis as his secretary of defense, he announced Thursday in Cincinnati at the beginning of his post-election tour.Allow me a little self-indulgence.
"We are going to appoint 'Mad Dog' Mattis as our secretary of defense. But we're not announcing it until Monday so don't tell anybody," Trump said at his rally, adding later, "They say he's the closest thing to Gen. George Patton that we have and it's about time."
Mattis, 66, would join a Trump national security team that already includes retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as national security adviser and Rep. Mike Pompeo as CIA director.
Regulars here and at Midrats know my feelings towards Mattis. In summary, I had the pleasure in serving with him on three occasions; once when he was a 1-star and we were both trying to figure things out in C5F AOR in the weeks after 911; once as a 3-star when he was MARCENT, and once as a 4-star when he was the commander of NATO's Allied Command Transformation. I've had the pleasure of talking with him (the first time I thought he was a USMC SNCO for about 30-seconds until I saw his star), briefing him, and watching him work with his Marines. I never saw someone who was such a natural leader that so quickly earned the trust and admiration of those around him. I was a minor player around him on every occasion, but in spit of that - he remembered my name every time we found ourselves face to face again, years apart and he talked to me like it was only yesterday.
If he built that bond with me, I cannot imagine the feelings of those who served with him day in and day out - but I've heard plenty.
Our nation will be exceptionally well served in any position he finds himself in. All should be at peace with him heading to SECDEF. I am still in awe that he may be heading there, and I hold the greatest hope for his success. I am just slightly saddened that I won't have a 4th chance to work with him - but I will enjoy the opportunity of seeing him from afar.
Some people are voicing concerns about the number of Generals picked so far by Trump. As a small (r) republican, in the back of my head I share that concern, but not with James Mattis.
Nope. Without question I would put the lives of my wife and children in his hands. Very few people on the planet pass that muster. That will do for SECDEF.