Retired Marine Corps Gen. Jim Mattis has officially been
confirmed as the new Secretary of Defense.
While many of you who served (and 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 and
all other fellow Americans, here are a few key facts to know:
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
Mattis went to Central Washington University, where he earned a
bachelor’s degree in history.
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 and during three major operations,
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.
Mattis was a brigadier general during
Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, where 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
As a major general, Mattis commanded the
1st Marine Division during the initial attack and subsequent
stability operations during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
In 2006, then-Lt. Gen. Mattis worked closely with Army Gen. David
Petraeus to produce a revamped “Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency
Field Manual,” which has become one of the most complete guidance
manuals for dealing with counterinsurgencies.
From 2007-2009, Mattis served as NATO’s
Allied Commander Transformation, one of two of the
organization’s strategic commanders. He also led U.S. Joint Forces
Command, which was dissolved as a unified combatant command in 2011.
From 2010-2013, Mattis replaced Petraeus as commander of
U.S. Central Command, the geographic combatant command
responsible for DoD operations in the Middle East.
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.”
New Defense Secretary Jim Mattis hosts his first “Top 4” roundtable after arriving at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Also in attendance were Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work; U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and U.S. Air Force Gen. Paul Selva, Vice CJCS.
(DOD photo by Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brigitte N. Brantley)
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
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