Tag Archives: SecDef

More to celebrate this weekend

Fourth of July weekend, tis a time to celebrate right? Yes, by all means, we should be celebrating the birth of this once great nation that is slowly but surely on the road to becoming great again. This road will not be in the fast lane, in fact, it may even be on the shoulder trying to get back onto the roadway. Our new Secretary of Defense, made a decision; however, he waited till yesterday, 30 June to make the announcement. How appropriate was that?  So, there is much more than the birth of our nation to celebrate this weekend. Enjoy yourselves , but keep praying for our nation to get back onto the road.

http://acoloneloftruth.blogspot.com/2017/07/secretary-mattis-kicks-transgender.html

 

Sec. Mattis Has a New Nickname

to Replace ‘Mad Dog’… Oh, and He Does His Own Laundry at The Pentagon, Too!

BY BENNY JOHNSON

You never know who you are going to run into when the President of the United States addresses Congress.

Rounding a corner in the Capitol building approximately one hour before Trump’s speech Tuesday night, I ran directly into a group of veterans attempting to get a photo with none other than Secretary of Defense James Mattis. One of the soldiers looked at me desperately for assistance in taking the photo. I obliged and afterwards introduced myself to the Secretary.

“Hi, I’m Jim,” Mattis, the American military legend said casually, gripping my hand. I asked how his transition was going at the Pentagon:

Oh, it’s so good to be back. I had to get away for a while to really appreciate it. People in our military are just incredible. We work as a cohesive unit. Everyone has a duty and a job to do. My staff view it as the highest honor and privilege, getting to work at the Pentagon every day.

I treat the people inside that building like my family.

When I go down to get my laundry in the basement, I factor in ten extra minutes every trip just so I can talk with people. Ya know, they see me coming down the hallway and want to ask something, they should be able to. We work just like a family.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I asked the Secretary of Defense if he actually does his own laundry at the Pentagon. “Well, yes,” he said, looking at me as though it would be strange if he did not do his own laundry.

I asked the Secretary why he carries his own bags everywhere he goes. The question was in reference to this recent story we had published about the Secretary always carrying his own bags, behavior that is not standard for D.C.’s powerful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Well, I have two hands, don’t I?” was Mattis’ response, looking down at his open palms.

His aide was pulling him in another direction and I sensed this would be the final question, so I asked if anyone in the Pentagon calls him ‘Mad Dog.” He paused and said:

You know, that is not my real call sign? That was something made up by the press. Some reporter, who needed a quick name for me. My real name is Chaos. “Colonel Has An Outstanding Solution.” That is my real call sign and what my men used to call me. Anyone who has ever worked with me calls me Chaos. That’s the name I prefer.

I stood there, shell-shocked from Mattis’ response. The Secretary of Defense leaned in toward me and said, “Call me Chaos,” winked, and walked away.

I hope my experience can serve as a public service announcement for you and your family: If you ever have the good fortune of meeting the man in charge of the most powerful military in human history, call him “Chaos.”

PS from me. Do you think his predecessor, Ash & Trash Carter, carried his own bag and did his own laundry?  That’s laughable. CHAOS, what a man, what a leader, what a gentleman, what a Sec Def!

Meet your new SecDef

I know the author of this great article about your new Secretary of Defense. Heart warming to say the least. While his moniker of “Mad Dog” makes the liberals fear him, they know not about what they speak. Of course, that’s not unusual for them.

 

Letter to the editor: My friendship with Gen. Jim Mattis

By Jack Matthews

I first met then-Maj. Jim Mattis, U.S. Marines, in 1984 when he was a student at the United States Marine Corps Command and Staff College at Quantico, Virginia. While I was a tactics instructor at the college, he and I formed a friendship that has lasted for the past 33 years.

In the summer of 2009 I had arranged for a foot surgeon at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C., to reconstruct my left foot. I had been wounded in Vietnam and after 13 surgeries I was hoping that this doctor at Georgetown could finally fix the problem.

I called then-Gen. Jim Mattis, Commander Joint Forces Command, and asked him if I could recuperate at his quarters for a few days at the Norfolk Naval Base.

Long story short, post operation the foot became infected and gangrene had set in. Gen. Mattis immediately arranged for me to meet with the orthopedic surgeons at the Portsmouth Naval Hospital, and as soon as they saw the foot they determined that it had to be amputated. Thus on Oct. 30, 2009, my left foot came off.

The navy surgeons performed what is called an ERTL procedure on me, where in essence they constructed a bone bridge between the fibula and tibia.

What was initially designed to be a very short stay with the general eventually turned into 17 weeks of me living in the Virginia House aboard the Norfolk naval base.

What I would like the reader to appreciate is that I was confined to a wheelchair for those 17 weeks with my mobility severely curtailed. I simply cannot count the number of times Jim Mattis carried my wheelchair up or downstairs, so we could eat together and just visit.

The general had a very demanding schedule and was often absent from the Virginia House. But whenever he was home, he would routinely take me in my wheelchair for walks out to see the naval ships that were tied up along the piers. Oftentimes it was cold as hell in December as the general wheeled me about, and the conversation would frequently gravitate to us talking about my heroes: “The Chosen Few.” (The First Marine Division’s epic withdrawal from the Chosen Reservoir in December 1950.)

In December 2009, Gen. Mattis hosted a Christmas Party for all the navy folks — surgeons, nurses and corpsmen — who attended to me while I was a patient in the hospital before and after the amputation. To their credit, they all wanted to have their pictures taken with the general in front of the Christmas tree.

During this whole process Gen. Jim Mattis taught me the meaning of friendship and what it meant to be a real friend. Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager said it far better than I ever could:

“Keep smiling, keep shining

Knowing you can always count on me, for sure

That’s what friends are for

For good times and bad times

I’ll be on your side forever more

That’s what friends are for.”

Gen. Mattis came to Bend in January 2010 to see me on his way to visit his mother in Richland, Washington. We had arranged to have a luncheon in his honor at the Broken Top Club. After the lunch the general was going to address a large gathering in the Great Room at Broken Top. It was obviously my job to introduce him to the audience.

When I stepped up to the podium all I could think of was Gen. Mattis’ kindness, generosity, and friendship and how he welcomed me at the Virginia House, particularly all those wheelchair rides. Before I could say a word I broke down in front of all those in attendance. Trying to get it together, I told all those in the Great Room that I was sorry, and then turned to Gen. Jim Mattis and with tears in my eyes, and simply said, “Thank you.”

That’s your new secretary of defense.

Retired Lt. Col. Jack Matthews, of the U.S. Marines, lives in Bend.

Gen. Mattis, the Marine

Meet our soon-to-be next secretary of Defense who will replace that scumbag ash and trash Carter. If any congressman has doubts as to whether or not to confirm this man, he/she needs to read this. A first-hand account of Mattis the Marine.

15 Things Mattis Taught Me About Real Leadership

By Joe Plenzler on December 20, 2016

 

Mad Dog is the wrong nickname for a man who never yells and supports his people first, last, and always. 

I first met Marine Gen. James Mattis in the summer of 2000 when he took command of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade. After his change of command ceremony, I introduced myself as his new public affairs officer. “PAO, huh?” Mattis said. “What, are you going to follow me around all day and make sure I don’t say ‘fuck?’”

I had served as an infantry officer in a battalion in his former regiment, 7th Marines, so I said, “General, I was a platoon commander with 2/7. Treat me like just another gun-hand around the ranch.” Mattis then smiled, laughed, patted me on the shoulder and said, “I think you and me are going to get along just fine.”

From the start, it became evident that Mattis was of a different kind altogether. Instead of micromanaging, he fired those who were incapable or lazy, and empowered his staff to make decisions and carry out his intent. When Marines failed by omission, he helped them learn. When people failed by commission, they disappeared. Morale soared under his command and we truly believed we were unstoppable.

First and foremost, Mattis is a thinker. He made being smart cool in a tribe that is notoriously anti-intellectual. He is the most well-read person I’ve ever met. We heard he didn’t own a television and owned more than 6,000 books.

Related: For Some Reason, Mattis Likes To Wear His Flak Jacket Backward »

His recall is amazing. Were you to ask him what leader most inspired him, you might get a short lesson about the Sioux warrior chiefs, or his thoughts on Marcus Aurelius. This is why the “Mad Dog” sobriquet just doesn’t fit. I’ve never seen him lose his cool. Mattis often reminded us that, “everyone needs a coach, but nobody needs a tyrant.” Sure, he could get Marines fired up, but I’ve never seen him yell or scream. Ever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

1st Marine Division Public Affairs Officer Captain Joe Plenzler, Commanding General Major General James N. Mattis, and Aide D’Camp Captain Warren “Bunge” Cook pause for a photo near Al Diwaniyah, Iraq in May of 2003.

Mattis assumed command of 1st Marine Division in the summer of 2002. He immediately brought the division staff together so that we might better understand his intent and leadership style. What follows are 15 of the key ideas he expressed during that initial session. You can find his staff guidance embedded at the bottom of this article.

1. “All of us are MAGTF (Marine Air Ground Task Force) leaders.”

Mattis was unconcerned with a Marine’s MOS. He only cared about how smart you were, how tough you were, and whether you’d “stick around and fight when the chips were down.” He expected all Marines to lead at their respective levels and fully recognized the team aspect and interdependence of all members of the division.

2. “Attitude is a weapon.”

Mattis said that a leader’s job is to win the hearts of those they lead and remember that it is the subordinates who actually accomplish every mission. Done right, Marines will charge forward and fight with a happy heart. He said“We must remember that we only need to win one battle: for the hearts and minds of our subordinates. They will win all the rest at the risk and cost of their lives.”

3. “Everyone fills sandbags in this outfit.”

In other words, rank has no privileges when there is work to be done and too few hands. Everyone was expected to roll up their sleeves and pitch in to accomplish the mission. Officers were not exempt and were expected to lead by example to help the team when needed.

4. “If a Marine or a unit is screwing up, hug them a little more.”

Mattis believed in compassionate leadership and intrusive coaching. He also believed in tempering zeal so that, leaders “don’t allow their passion for excellence to destroy their compassion for subordinates.”

5. “There are only two types of people on the battlefield: hunters and the hunted.”

It was clear which he wanted us to be, and he encouraged us to inculcate a “hunter/ambush” mindset within the division. He told us that we were there to lead and reinforce his strengths, and to shore up his weaknesses. He hated brittleness in any form, and knew that any idea that could not withstand challenge would fail in the face of the enemy.

6. He encouraged simplicity in planning, and speed, surprise, and security in execution.

Mattis knew control in combat is an illusion — a ghost fools often chased. He preferred “command and feedback,” not command and control.

7. “The two qualities I look for most in my Marines are initiative and aggressiveness.”

He knew that these qualities create speed and focus, the two key elements of generating combat power.

8. “Remember, Orville Wright flew an airplane without a pilot’s license.”

He encouraged Marines to embrace new challenges. He knew the fog of war is both ubiquitous and relentless and that if you wait for perfect information, you will become paralyzed and irrelevant.

9. “No better friend, no worse enemy.”

The Roman general Lucius Cornelius Sulla once remarked, “No friend ever served me and no enemy ever wronged me whom I have not repaid in full.” When he became division commander, Mattis made his version of Sulla’s epitaph the 1st Marine Division motto. He told us Iraq has a population of 33 million people, and we sure as hell didn’t want to fight all of them. We only wanted to fight the ones that were working to keep Saddam Hussein in power. He told his Marines that if the Iraqi people we encountered wanted to help us, or just stand aside, they would find no better friend than a U.S. Marine. If any opposed us, they would rue the day. He sought to limit damage and loss of life whenever possible.

10. “Treat every day as if it were your last day of peace.”

Mattis told us that if you aren’t in combat, you should be preparing your Marines and sailors to go to combat. This is the sole purpose of the Marine Corps — to support our Constitution and defend the American people. He told us of another Roman, Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus, who said, “If you want peace, prepare for war.”

11. “This is not some JV, bush-league outfit. We’re the Marines.”

Mattis knew that most people generally perform to the level of expectation that their leaders set. If a leader demands excellence and provides realistic and challenging training for their people, the people will respond. This was a moral imperative for Mattis, who often remarked that combat is unforgiving and the price of bad leadership is the butcher’s bill with the names of young Americans that comes with every war.

12. “I have been accused of making my subordinates my equals, and I happily stand guilty.”

Mattis has always been more interested in the six inches between a Marine’s ears than the rank on his or her collar. I frequently saw him go out of his way to empower talented people to do what they do best. His lead intelligence analyst in his command post during the initial invasion of Iraq was a Marine lance corporal savant who knew the Iraqi order of battle better than anyone in the division.

13. “I don’t want us to put someone in front of the the media that is going to have their second childhood. I only want tough Marines in front of the camera.”

Mattis knew that the invasion of Iraq was going to be a major historic event, and 1st Marines would embed more than 100 reporters. He expressed a healthy respect for the role journalists play in our democracy and believed the press was “an entirely winnable constituency.” He knew that journalists would be the ones telling the American people about what his Marines were doing in combat, and he encouraged his Marines to “share their courage with the world.” When planning the embed program, Mattis told me to focus my efforts on telling the division’s story where the fighting and dying would take place — at the lance corporal and lieutenant level. He then quoted the Greek poet Pindar who said, “Left unsung, the noblest deed will die.”

14. “Engage your brain before you engage your trigger.”

Mattis would often tell Marines that taking the life of another human being is a significant act — one that they must be prepared to do as military professionals, but that they must think before they shoot. He said that killing the wrong people on the battlefield would drive more people to the enemy’s cause, and that such mistakes haunt people for the rest of their lives.

Lastly, my favorite of the things he told us:

15. “The number-one authority you have as a leader is your moral authority and your number one power is expectation.”

Mattis knew that Marines expect to see their leaders at the front sharing hardship and danger. He also knew that when leaders at the front expect Marines to move forward against the enemy, they will. A leader’s example and moral authority are what truly take a unit forward. He said, “In two minutes at the front edge of the combat zone, you know if the troops feel confident, if the battle is going the way they want it to, or if they need something. You can sense it, and you can apply something.”

 

 

Trump’s Mad Dog

A very well written, highly informative read. May ally some fears of those who have been “triggered” by his moniker.

Trump’s Mad Dog

Dec. 7, 2016

By George Friedman
It has become rare for top military officers to stand up to their civilian leaders.

I have received several emails, primarily from non-Americans, asking why Donald Trump would select a man called “Mad Dog” to be secretary of defense. They are aware that “mad dog” is a term denoting a dog with rabies and are baffled why anyone normal would be given that name. I have decided to serve as a guide to the perplexed.

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump (L) welcomes retired U.S. Marine Gen. James Mattis as they pose for a photo before their meeting at Trump International Golf Club, Nov. 19, 2016 in Bedminster Township, New Jersey. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

First, you should bear in mind that James Mattis is not normal. He is a United States Marine. As such, he is expected to go beyond the normal. Within the American family of services, the Marines pride themselves on going to extremes. Those who go beyond the extremes are rewarded with names like Mad Dog. Mad dogs are said to be tenacious, unwilling to accept defeat or to leave a teammate behind. This has little to do with rabies and everything to do with honor. And one of the tenets of honor is never to lie to others or yourself about war. War is about defeating your enemy, and that means killing them. And in killing them you may kill innocents. This is true, and you can’t lie about that. If that is unacceptable, don’t go to war.

The Mad Dog was fired by President Barack Obama, rumor has it, for asking inconvenient questions. The question of bombing Iran had come up and Mattis would not let go of the issue. He demanded answers to questions ranging from how we will know if we destroyed the nuclear facilities to what we will do if the Iranians respond with non-nuclear weapons like chemical weapons. Only a mad dog would ask questions for which planners had no answers, so Mattis was fired. Obama wanted an option and Mattis’ questions made it clear the president didn’t have the option he wanted. That was intolerable.

The United States has been waging war in the in the Middle East for 15 years. It has been dishonest from the beginning. George W. Bush said the U.S. was at war and would bring the perpetrators to justice. In a war you kill your enemies, not arrest them. If you arrest them, you aren’t at war. Obama couldn’t decide whether to leave or stay. As a result, he mostly left, except for those that stayed. Donald Rumsfeld called the insurgency the last gasp of a defeated enemy. He knew it wasn’t, but he didn’t want to admit that he miscalculated in Iraq, and that defeating the Iraqi army was the preface to the real war, not the end.

The greatest deception was in designating the enemy. The enemy is the one you must defeat and must be clearly identified. If the enemy was all of Islam, hang it up. There are 1.7 billion Muslims, and America won’t win that war. On the other hand, if you pretend that Islam is purely incidental to terrorism, you are lying and you know it. Every Muslim is not a terrorist, but almost all terrorists today are Muslims. Now if saying that will make every Muslim a terrorist, that poses a serious problem. But there is a secret that everyone knows: Muslims know that there are Muslim terrorists, that they attack the West and that the Americans are at war with them. Trying to pretend otherwise seems not to have a point. If the point is that not all Muslims are terrorists, then say that if you wish and move on.

The enemy of victory or survival is wishful thinking. The U.S. did not wish to be in World War II. The Germans wished to defeat the Soviets in three months. The Japanese wished the Americans would sue for peace. The handmaiden of wishful thinking is poor planning. First you wish, then you pretend it’s possible, then you believe it’s certain, and then you plan without thinking about reversals, defeats or the worst case.

In the war in the Middle East, wishful thinking ruled. That was coupled with confidence, and that was married to careless planning. A few years into it every enlisted man knew that even the definition of victory was unclear, and that there was no light at the end of the tunnel. They couldn’t even find the tunnel. But pulling out of a war that was being lost was impossible. So the pretense from the White House and Pentagon was that the war was being won. They may have been far enough away from the war intellectually that they might have thought the war was being won. I personally doubt it.

If the war was to be won, and I don’t know that it could be, the key was to identify the enemy. It was not al-Qaida, because when it was shattered the Islamic State emerged. The enemy was that strain of Islam that provided manpower to whatever organization arose. But that would require admitting that the war was about Islam, and that wasn’t what the political leadership wished it to be about, or at least they didn’t want to admit it.

The leadership of the American military does not challenge the authority of the president. The president is commander in chief and the secretary of defense is whom the senior leaders must report to. This is respected. But the chain of command is not at stake. The senior commanders are as far from the battlefield as the civilians, and their knowledge of the battlefield is what they read in reports from the field. Some have heard a shot fired in anger at some point. Many have never been in combat. They are part of the same system of denial as are the civilians.

But a career’s worth of effort has gotten you your stars. You don’t throw that away to tell a truth you may not know and for which your career will be ended. But this is not new. It was true when Douglas MacArthur told Harry Truman he couldn’t win in Korea without using nukes. It was not what Truman wanted to hear, nor did he want the public to hear it. So he fired MacArthur, accepted a draw and portrayed MacArthur a madman. Mad he may have been, but the U.S. couldn’t and didn’t win without nukes. The president is free to do what he wants, but MacArthur insisted on telling the truth, however unwanted it was and however inappropriately it was delivered.

William Westmoreland in Vietnam accepted the theory that attrition would defeat the guerrillas, as eagerly produced reports showed body counts mounting. The truth was that counting bodies in the jungle is harder to do than you might think, and that the Ho Chi Minh trail was choked with fresh troops entering Vietnam. Lyndon Johnson did not want to hear that, and God knows if Westmoreland knew it, or if it mattered to him. The North Vietnamese could absorb casualties more readily than the Americans. There might have been ways to win the war, but it would have involved widening the war, sending many more troops and accepting much higher casualties. Westmoreland didn’t say this to Johnson because he didn’t want to hear it. And Westmoreland had no intention of being fired like MacArthur had been.

The president is the commander in chief, but he must demand that he hear the truth as his commanders see it. That truth may confirm the path he is on, it may tell him that path is doomed, it may offer another path, or it might say that the commanders are as baffled as anyone and see no path. The president decides, but his commanders must speak and the president must not merely listen, but hear. All owe their best to those they would send to war and those they would subject to war.

The military is subordinate to civilians. But senior commanders in the military are asking their troops to go to their death on the commanders’ orders. If they can ask soldiers to give their lives, they might be prepared to accept the consequences of speaking the truth as they see it. It is not insubordinate to insist to the civilians that they are lying to themselves or to force them to do honest planning or to resign. This not about routine matters but about the terrible decisions presidents must make. That might not help, but a revolt of the generals against a policy decimating their forces, to whom they are also responsible, is not unheard of. Dwight Eisenhower told Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt that unless there was a completely unified command under him, or whomever they chose, he would refuse to take the command and resign. Churchill capitulated to the threat. Eisenhower was a man who understood politics. That did not stop him, in extremis, from asserting his position (which was the right one). During World War II, generals fought tenaciously against civilian edicts they thought were wrong.

That hasn’t been true, at the critical points, in the United States since World War II. MacArthur knew the Chinese couldn’t be defeated once they came in. Westmoreland didn’t know, or didn’t tell the truth to Johnson. When Eric Shinseki told Rumsfeld that Iraq couldn’t be pacified with less than 300,000 troops, Rumsfeld fired him. At least Shinseki had pointed out that the plan was a fantasy.

If you are going to send troops to fight and die, the least you can put on the line is your career. It’s nothing compared to their lives. But the fact is that most senior officers – and intelligence personnel – are bureaucrats who got to where they are not because they mastered the arts of the warrior, but because they were clever staff officers, doing the necessary work of managing, but they were only incidentally warfighters. Nor were they intellectuals, who steeped themselves deep in the complex texts written by those who know war and Islam and the moral virtues of a soldier. They read reports and memos. And so expecting them to confront the Roman Senate, pointing out that they don’t know what they are talking about, and being self-satisfied, didn’t want to learn – that isn’t known to happen.

It may be apocryphal that Mad Dog Mattis carries a copy of Marcus Aurelius’ “Mediations” with him, but I have a feeling it is not. Mad Dog Mattis assigns reading lists to his junior officers, pointing out that wisdom is in them and will help them on the battlefield. And Mad Dog Mattis reads constantly and intensely himself. And what is certain is that he allowed his career to be destroyed rather than to go along with a very bad idea.

He is truly a mad dog. He cares more for his troops than his career. If he can be fierce with his enemy he can be fierce with his president. And Mad Dog knows three critical things. He knows how to kill. He knows that to kill he must pursue wisdom in the tradition. And he know that with these two things he can lead, and earn the name Mad Dog. He is the classic soldier scholar.

Whether he can dramatically reform the Department of Defense is unknown. It is too big, too self-absorbed and far more concerned about the battles in the Pentagon than the battles with the enemy. But if Mattis can force Washington to say publicly what they already know – that this is the enemy, that it cannot be all of Islam, but it is part of Islam, I fantasize that the Pentagon will magically evaporate in the face of truth, replaced by a few hundred people who have no personnel policy beyond finding the best and placing them in harm’s way.

I do not usually admire people, nor write about those I do. But I have indulged myself in this. I am not making a political statement for or against any politician. I am saying that the kind of civic virtue that has become rare in the American military may well be found in this man. He refused to save his job by falling silent so as not to irritate the commander in chief. He insisted on having answers to reasonable questions. Such soldiers are tragically rare, and nothing is more likely to prevent a war than a general prepared to tell the truth or demand a truth. Nor is anyone more likely to win a war at less cost. Having had two children serve in the military, I understand the cost of pretending to my wife that all is well, all the while wondering whether their commanders stay awake through the night or are the type who ruthlessly deny themselves the comfort of delusions.

Mattis is simply a man worth admiring, and I will divert myself from my regular course to admire him. I will return to more ascetic things after this.