Trump sure did a good job here. This is a remarkable man and we have no doubt he will do remarkable things as secretary of defense. Interested in knowing more? Keep reading.
Marine Lance Cpl. Andrew Gitto was less than two weeks removed from his 20th birthday when a Taliban sniper hit him two times at a checkpoint in Marjah, Afghanistan, in April 2010. One round grazed his left hand and lodged in his shoulder, while the second buried into his lung, collapsing it.
Six days later, Marine Gen. James N. Mattis, then the head of U.S. Joint Forces Command, was standing at the end of his hospital bed in Bethesda, Md., talking quietly with Gitto’s mother, JoAnn. Gitto, now 26 and a sheriff’s officer in New Jersey, doesn’t remember much of his drug-addled 14-day hospital stay, but he recalls Mattis visiting and giving him a signed copy of Steven Pressfield’s novel, “Gates of Fire.”
“He didn’t treat me like a guy who’s been shot,” Gitto said. “He talked to me like we’ve known each other for years. He shook my hand, looked me in the eye and told me heal back up and head back. And that’s what I did.”
President-elect Donald Trump announced Thursday that Mattis, 66, will be nominated as his secretary of defense.
Nathaniel Fick, a former Marine officer who served under Mattis in combat, said that while he doesn’t want to be in a society where “the guys with the guns” make all the decisions, the retired general could be valuable in his new role.
“The thing about Mattis I believe to my core is that he will not commit forces in harm’s way unless he believes that U.S. interests are at stake and there is a plan to win,” said Fick, now the chief executive officer of the cybersecurity firm Endgame Inc. “It looks like we’re going to have a lot of people in the Situation Room who have never been in the Situation Room before. And with Mattis, you have someone who has been — and also has been on the front lines.”
Jeremiah Workman, a Marine veteran who served in Iraq, said that not only do the general’s past successes speak for themselves, he has gone out of his way to assist those who struggle after coming home from war. Workman recalled receiving a surprise phone call from Mattis when he was a sergeant in 2007 at Quantico, Va. Workman had received the Navy Cross for valor in Iraq but later lost his job as a drill instructor at Parris Island, S.C., while coping with post-traumatic stress.
“When I think of a leader, I think of genuine care and concern, and that’s him,” said Workman, who is now a Department of Veterans Affairs employee at Quantico. “Just the fact that General Mattis was a three-star general who was reaching out to a sergeant in the Marine Corps who was hurting and needed help, that speaks volumes for him as a person.”