President-Elect Donald Trump is rumored to be considering retired Marine General James “Mad Dog” Mattis for his defense secretary. The 66-year-old general is a legend among military men and women, and the letter he wrote to his troops is a clear indication why.
“On your young shoulders rest the hopes of mankind.” General Mattis began in the letter to his Marines before going into Iraq. “Keep faith in your comrades on your left and right and Marine Air overhead. Fight with a happy heart and a strong spirit.”
Marine Gen. James N. Mattis is something of a legend in the US military. He is beloved among Marines and is well-respected by the members of other services. He’s also been at the forefront of a number of engagements.
General Mattis led his battalion of Marines in the assault during the first Gulf War in 1991, Allen B. West notes, and he commanded the task force that charged into Afghanistan in 2001. In 2003, as a major general, he once again took up the task of motivating his young Marines to go into battle.
Every single one of General Mattis’ Marines received the letter on March 19, 2003. The letter to the 1st Marine Division was written by the general’s own hand.
“When I give you the word, we will cross the line of departure,” General Mattis continued. He added they would fight with other troops who had chosen to enter the battle and ultimately destroy Saddam Hussein.
General Mattis also told his troops that Saddam Hussein had tortured, imprisoned, and raped his own people for decades before invading neighboring countries without any provocation. He told the brave Marines the time had come to end Hussein’s “reign of terror.”
“Our fight is not with the Iraqi people. Nor is it with any members of the Iraqi Army who choose to surrender,” the major general added.
General Mattis also warned his Marines that Hussein may use chemical weapons, innocent civilians as human shields, and other means of “treachery” to save his own skin. Mattis instructed his men to never let their guard down.
“Take it all in stride. Be the hunter not the hunted,” General Mattis added. “Use good judgment and act in the best interest of our nation.” And importantly, “keep your honor clean,” something our career politicians would be wise to take a lesson on.
It is no wonder Donald Trump wants the retired Marine hero to lead the Defense Department. Hopefully, General Mattis will honor this great nation with his service once again!
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