While the current administration seems to be consistently mired in controversy, one man seems to keep his head above the proverbial waves, soundly kept afloat by his exercise of reason, tact and -dare we say it- outright class.
That man, of course, is James Mattis, the current Secretary of Defense and a retired United States Marine Corps general who is globally renowned for his intelligence, warrior spirit and devotion to those who serve under him.
A consummate professional, Mattis is a lifelong bachelor whose sole focus in life has been becoming a better warrior. No stranger to combat, he lost several Marines under his command during his roles as 7th Marine Regiment/1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade commander in Afghanistan and commander of the 1st Marine Division in Iraq.
What sets Mattis apart from many of his contemporaries, however, is his lack of an “off” switch when it comes to his troops. From pulling duty for a married subordinate (so he could be with his family on Christmas) to telling Iraqi leaders that he would kill them all if they harmed his men, Mattis’ focus in life (aside from victory, of course) seems to be fixated upon those who serve -and died- under his command.
Needless to say, it came as no surprise when the SecDef was spotted patrolling the grounds of Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day, walking amongst the graves of those lost during the seemingly-endless War on Terror.
The incident was first reported on social media by David Brown, a US Army veteran who served in the infantry and happened to be visiting two of his fallen friends at Section 60, the plot of land where our more recent casualties are buried.
“While visiting their graves, I met a lone man walking the stones at Section 60. Far away from cameras and fanfare, Defense Secretary James Mattis spent his Veterans Day with the recent fallen,” Brown recounted. “I watched him listen patiently to stories from surviving friends and family members. An old man visiting his Marine son’s grave told Mattis that he was his boy’s hero; the Warrior Monk smiled sadly and said that the old man’s son was one of his.”
Walking away from that experience with a self-portrait of himself and the SecDef, Brown had nothing but good things to say about the man known as “Chaos.”
“James Mattis is one of those living legends who transcends politics and ideology,” he surmised. “His job is his life, and that job is the welfare of this country and its servicemembers. This Veterans Day, I send a special thanks to James Mattis, for not taking today off.”
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