Who is General James Mattis?

general-james-mattisUSMC General (four star) James Mattis (ret.) has been selected as Donald Trump’s nominee for the new administration’s Secretary of Defense.

People ask: who is James Mattis?

Ladies and gentlemen, this is James Mattis.

A General Mattis Christmas Story

Featured from the National Museum of the Marine Corps Museum’s Facebook Page

A couple of months ago, when I told General Krulak, the former Commandant of the Marine Corps, now the chair of the Naval Academy Board of Visitors, that we were having General Mattis speak this evening, he said, “Let me tell you a Jim Mattis story.” General Krulak said, when he was Commandant of the Marine Corps, every year, starting about a week before Christmas, he and his wife would bake hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of Christmas cookies. They would package them in small bundles.

 Then on Christmas day, he would load his vehicle. At about 4 a.m., General Krulak would drive himself to every Marine guard post in the Washington-Annapolis-Baltimore area and deliver a small package of Christmas cookies to whatever Marines were pulling guard duty that day. He said that one year, he had gone down to Quantico as one of his stops to deliver Christmas cookies to the Marines on guard duty. He went to the command center and gave a package to the lance corporal who was on duty.

 He asked, “Who’s the officer of the day?” The lance corporal said, “Sir, it’s Brigadier General Mattis.” And General Krulak said, “No, no, no. I know who General Mattis is. I mean, who’s the officer of the day today, Christmas day?” The lance corporal, feeling a little anxious, said, “Sir, it is Brigadier General Mattis.”

 General Krulak said that, about that time, he spotted in the back room a cot, or a daybed. He said, “No, Lance Corporal. Who slept in that bed last night?” The lance corporal said, “Sir, it was Brigadier General Mattis.”

About that time, General Krulak said that General Mattis came in, in a duty uniform with a sword, and General Krulak said, “Jim, what are you doing here on Christmas day? Why do you have duty?” General Mattis told him that the young officer who was scheduled to have duty on Christmas day had a family, and General Mattis decided it was better for the young officer to spend Christmas Day with his family, and so he chose to have duty on Christmas Day.

General Krulak said, “That’s the kind of officer that Jim Mattis is.”

The story above was told by Dr. Albert C. Pierce, the Director of the Center for the Study of Professional Military Ethics at The United States Naval Academy. He was introducing General James Mattis who gave a lecture on Ethical Challenges in Contemporary Conflict in the spring of 2006. This was taken from the transcript of that lecture.

Frankly, as I read that, I choked up a bit and my eyes began to water.

To me, this provides all the information I need to know about a true leader.



Gen Chuck Yeager, 89, in F-15 Eagle

General Chuck Yeager, at the ripe old age of 89 years, boards an F-15 Eagle at Nellis AFB as part of an honor flight. The flight was conducted in recognition of the first manned supersonic flight 65 years prior, when Yeager broke the sound barrier in an experimental Bell X-1 aircraft on October 14, 1947. Filmed on October 14, 2012.


For those who don’t know, Chuck Yeager is the man who first broke the supersonic flight sound barrier on October of 1947 at California’s Muroc Desert Test Center (now known as Edwards AFB) with a speed of 660 mph at 35,000 feet, in the Bell XS-1 rocket-powered aircraft named “Glamorous Glennis” (after Yeager’s wife).  With enough fuel for a 2 1/2 minute flight, technicians and engineers were unsure just what would occur at the sound barrier.  Would the wings fall off?  Could the human body take the stress or would the transition to supersonic speed kill the pilot?  No one knew.

Yet there he is, at the age of 89 in the year 2012, strapped into the back seat of a McDonnell-Douglas F-15 Eagle, a twin-engine fighter first introduced into USAF service in 1976, in order to commemorate the 65th anniversary of Yeager’s having broken the sound barrier.

I’m sure a number of AF officers were thinking: “oh please, don’t let General Yeager get killed on my watch.”

Still and all, an amazing feat.

Brigadier General Yeager, 93, lives with his second wife Victoria, 57, in Penn Valley, California, just off Highway 20 and west of Grass Valley.  Beale AFB, former home of the SR-71 and current home of the TR-1, is nearby.



San Francisco’s Fleet Week

SF Fleet WeekAstounded that SF still allows this to occur, considering its anti-defense and Sanctuary City stance, Fleet Week survives.

Which means that the Blue Angels will still be performing this weekend over San Francisco Bay — at the altitude of a few hundred feet and over the various ships and yachts of those privileged enough to put themselves there.

And that’s where ol” BZ will be, ladies and gentemen.  On a 175-foot yacht in the middle of San Francisco Bay.  And I’ll be there with cameras and video.

I can’t wait.