General James Mattis will be our next Secretary of Defense. I wrote about him earlier. But I left out some important credentials.
It is worth our time to take a measure of the man. When General James Mattis was unceremoniously canned by Barack Obama, did he pout? No. Instead he planned a cross-country route back to his home state of Washington.
[Source: A Look at Gen. James Mattis From a Close Friend, by Martha Raddatz and Luis Martinez]
“The route he chose was dictated by the Gold Star Mothers he had to visit along the way,” says his longtime friend, retired Marine Maj. Gen. Michael Ennis. “He spent weeks on that cross-country drive, zig-zagging to get to as many as he could to personally talk to them.”
“He personally wrote hand-written notes to every parent whose son or daughter was killed under his command,” said Ennis. “He cares deeply. He also works very hard to keep his Marines from being killed unnecessarily.”
“He cares deeply about those who serve under him and the parents of those who die under him,” Ennis added.
He also made a special trip to Estonia to thank this tiny nation who lost more men per capita in Afghanistan than any other nation.
Ennis described Mattis as a “classic warrior” who “fights to win.”
Mattis is called “Mad Dog” only by marines under his command. Otherwise, he is known by the nickname the “Warrior Monk.” “Jim read an astonishing number of books with the discipline of a monk,” says Ennis. “When I would come home, he would discuss critical decisions made by commanders,” Ennis recalls. “He would present a case and ask me to challenge it.” Mattis would then ask Ennis to support the opposing view. “It was a mental exercise for him; one that honed his ability to think critically,” said Ennis.
“He is an avid reader of all history, not just military,” Ennis says of his friend, who is believed to have a collection of 7,000 books.
During a visit to Mattis’ home at Camp Pendleton, when Mattis was in command of the 1st Marine Division, Ennis went to his friend’s kitchen looking for a box of cereal. “When I opened the kitchen cupboards, I was a bit taken aback when I saw that all his cupboards were filled with books,” Ennis remembers.
“I took a few out and opened them — and saw notes he had scribbled in the margins and yellow highlights over interesting passages,” says Ennis.
Mattis is known for his blunt talk, but Ennis says Mattis’ blunt talk shows “he is completely apolitical. He just tells it like it is.”
I think we’re good to go with this outstanding choice for Secretary of Defense.