JANUARY 24, 2017, WASHINGTON – Retired Marine Corps Gen. James N. Mattis has officially been confirmed as the new Secretary of Defense.
While many of you who served (and those of you who still serve) in the Marine Corps know his achievements well, many other service members and DoD civilians might not know that much about the veteran commander. So to help introduce him to the community he’ll be serving, here are 10 key facts:
1. Gen. Mattis grew up in southeast Washington state with military-minded parents: His mother worked with U.S. Army intelligence in South Africa, while his father was a merchant mariner. Mattis went to Central Washington University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in history.
2. Mattis was commissioned as a Marine Corps second lieutenant through ROTC in 1972. He served in the Marine Corps for 41 years, commanding at all levels, during three major operations, including:
3. As a lieutenant colonel in the 1990s, Mattis commanded the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines (also known as assault battalion Task Force Ripper) as they breached the Iraqi minefields during Operation Desert Storm.
4. As a brigadier general during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, he commanded the 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade in the fight against the Taliban. He also commanded Task Force 58, which executed the farthest-ranging amphibious assault in Marine Corps/Navy history, which blazed a path for more U.S. forces, cut off fleeing al-Qaida and Taliban fighters, and aided in the capture of Kandahar.
5. As a major general, he commanded the 1st Marine Division during the initial attack and subsequent stability operations during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
6. As a lieutenant general, he worked closely with Army Gen. David Petraeus in 2006 to produce a revamped “Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual,” which has become the authoritative guidance manual for dealing with counterinsurgencies.
7. From 2007 to 2009, Mattis served as a commander of a NATO strategic command, Allied Command Transformation. He also led U.S. Joint Forces Command, which was dissolved as a unified combatant command in 2011.
8. In 2010, Mattis served as the commander of U.S. Marine Forces at U.S. Central Command, which carries out missions in the Middle East.
9. Following his retirement in June 2013, Mattis served as the Davies Family Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, specializing in the study of leadership, national security, strategy, innovation and the effective use of military force. In 2016, he co-edited the book “Warriors & Citizens: American Views of Our Military.”
10. Mattis is nicknamed “the Warrior Monk,” due to his intense love and study of military history, leadership and the art of war.
By Katie Lange, DoD News, Defense Media Activity