Mattis tells Navy sailors not to be “some p**sy on the sidelines”

SILVERDALE, Wash. (August 9, 2017) - Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis speaks with the crew of Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Kentucky (SSBN-737) during a visit to Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, August 9. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Wyatt L. Anthony)

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis spared no discretion in his praise of an American Navy nuclear submarine crew, telling them that they already stand head and shoulders above their non-serving civilian peers while visiting during a visit to Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor.  He refered to those who don’t reenlist -“stick with the Navy”- and those who didn’t serve as “some pussy on the sidelines.”

So thanks for sticking with the Navy.  For those on your first — (inaudible) — you can get out the Navy after — (inaudible).  You’ll still miss it.  You’ll miss it like the dickens, and you’ll be changed for the better for the rest of your life.  So you’ll never regret, but you will have some of the best days of your life and some of the worst days of your life in the U.S. Navy, you know what I mean?  That says — that means you’re living.  That means you’re living.  That means you’re not some pussy sitting on the sidelines, you know what I mean, kind of sitting there saying, “Well, I should have done something with my life.”  Because of what you’re doing now, you’re not going to be laying on a shrink’s couch when you’re 45 years old, say “What the hell did I do with my life?”  Why? Because you served others; you served something bigger than you.

Here is the official DoD transcript:

SECRETARY OF DEFENSE JIM MATTIS:  Thanks, commander.

And, young man, I’m only going to say a few words, because here in just a minute I’m going to ask you to ask me questions and find out what’s on your minds, because that’s the only way I really know what you’re thinking about and what’s important.  I’ve gotten so senior.  I’ve grown remote from those of you who matter.

And we stand here in this beautiful corner of the country, and we’re from all over the country, but you just think about you’re — (inaudible) — think of the freedom that you grew up with that you want your kids, your little brother, your little sister to have.

And I’d like to stand here and tell you that we’ve finally found a way after a couple of thousand years on this planet of living in peace.  And we may have, one of these days.

But one thing’s for certain, the number one priority of the Department of Defense is that we maintain a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent so we make certain those weapons are never used.  If they are, that fight is over with very, very quickly, as we try to restore some kind of health to this planet.

And the seriousness of what you all do, and the attention to detail, and watching out for your shipmate on the left and right, and taking care of each other, and living up to a standard that I’ll you right now 90 percent of your country could not live up to (inaudible) screening test.  They could not pass the qualifications once they were in.  They couldn’t live by a code of honor.  That means you do the right thing — (inaudible) — someone’s watching — (inaudible).

And the only reason that this experiment that you and I call America is still alive this long in a world that does not appreciate freedom, that too often does not, the kind of freedom you and I sometimes, oftentimes, take for granted, is that every generation of Americans willing to fight for it.  And you’re part of a very proud, silent service.  And I know — (inaudible).  Sometimes on the most important missions I sign the orders for it.  It goes on.  Secretaries of defense come and go, but the silent service keeps performing quietly.  You know how to keep secrets, unlike a lot of people — (inaudible) — and you guard this country.  You guard this country very well.

And I’ve come out here, really, to pay my respects to you and to learn what’s on your minds.  Everyone of you, if you qualified for this program, could get out of the Navy today, could make a lot more money, and you don’t spend any months at sea, where you don’t know what’s going on with your wife or your sister’s wedding, or something like that.  So, I’ve got to come here and just tell you thank you.  I know that I haven’t met you personally, but I do know you.  I sense I know you, because if you were not willing to sacrifice for the country, if you weren’t willing to keep a little spirit of adventure and take that boat out every couple of months, then this country would not exist without your kind of service.  It’s just that simple in this imperfect world.

So thanks for sticking with the Navy.  For those on your first — (inaudible) — you can get out the Navy after — (inaudible).  You’ll still miss it.  You’ll miss it like the dickens, and you’ll be changed for the better for the rest of your life.  So you’ll never regret, but you will have some of the best days of your life and some of the worst days of your life in the U.S. Navy, you know what I mean?  That says — that means you’re living.  That means you’re living.  That means you’re not some pussy sitting on the sidelines, you know what I mean, kind of sitting there saying, “Well, I should have done something with my life.”  Because of what you’re doing now, you’re not going to be laying on a shrink’s couch when you’re 45 years old, say “What the hell did I do with my life?”  Why? Because you served others; you served something bigger than you.


And I’m not here to give you a re-enlistment lecture.  I wish — I was I was young enough to go back out to sea, although I will admit it takes a special kind of person to be in submarines.  I was in the Marines, and there’s a world of difference between a submariner and a Marine, you know what I mean? (Laughter.)

I spent seven days underwater once on a submarine so small it’d fit in half of this thing, and I was never so happy as when I got back to the surface, you know what I mean?  (Laughter.)

So, I do admire you.  I have a little sense of what happens and all that stuff when you go down, but I got nothing like your experience, and I just stand here in respect of every one of you.  Some of you aren’t even old enough to drink a beer, and yet you’re the only reason I came back to work in the Department of Defense, was to serve, in some way, you guys, because you know, frankly, that’s best paycheck in the world.

Now I’m not going to leave until you ask me some questions.  And it’s going to get real weird if I’m sitting here looking at you and you’re looking at me and no one’s asking questions.

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