Stringer/Kris Connor/Getty Images
Quite a bit is being said in the civilian world about Donald Trump selecting legendary Marine General 'Mad Dog' Mattis for Secretary of Defense.
However, the opinions which should matter most in this selection are those of the men & women in our armed services. IJR reached out to 11 current and former service members to get their unvarnished opinions on the selection.
U.S. Army Sergeant Steven Hildreth: “America's enemies weep with piss running down their legs”
"Veterans everywhere (myself included), even those who think Trump is a pompous windbag, got a raging freedom boner when Trump tapped General Mad Dog Mattis for SECDEF.
We finally get a guy who has been there and done that calling the shots for the armed services, not some dweeb lawyer thrown in as a political favor to the POTUS.
Don't believe me? Read this quote:
“I come in peace. I didn't bring artillery. But I'm pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: if you fuck with me, I'll kill you all.”
America's enemies weep with piss running down their legs, and all I can do is smile."
USMC, MARSOC Operator Sean Conner: “Mattis is an expert and scholar.”
General Mattis is an expert and scholar in warfare—hes a Marines, Marine—aggressive, but astute. He leads by example—this is what people idolize about him."
USMC Lance Corporal, CJ Simrak: “He gives a fuck”
He gives a fuck about the men that serve under him, he truly cares about them, their wellbeing and their success. He didn't give a shit about the privileges that came with his rank, he chose to sleep in fox holes with his men on the front line. He earned our respect time and time again.
USMC Jason Lutcavage: “A man who appreciates the judicious application of violence.”
Mattis was a legend even by the time I had first enlisted in the Corps 11 years ago. He's a man who appreciates the judicious application of violence and encouraged all of us to read, learn, and train hard.
Mattis, a man who could have had any amenity he wanted, preferred to be in fighting holes talking to his junior enlisted Marines while carrying his copy of Aurelius' “Meditations.” No lie.
Having Mattis as SecDef means that we have a man who leads from the front, who will never ask his subordinates to do something he's not willing to do himself. It means that he understands the nature of conflict and doesn't take war lightly and, after 15 years of war, I think that's exactly the type of person we need: we need a warrior-scholar.
U.S. Marine veteran, Captain and Counterintelligence officer Eric Kirsch: “No other living individual today exists more qualified.”
General James Mattis, adored my Uncle Bill Hudson, who in 1945 at age 19 fought on Iwo Jima as a BAR gunner. He kept up with him throughout the years until Bills death in 2015.
As a former Marine Captain, it has been a privilege to enjoy regular correspondence with General Mattis. Mattis is a scholar, a humanist, and a venerated Warrior who has successfully led our nations most elite forces within some of our most arduously precarious battles, and won.
The man is an incredible astute cauldron of wisdom, experience, historical knowledge and knows firmly the true costs of war. His experiences have forged a balanced world view of the commitment of the United States military and he is near perfectly suited to be the proverbial “brakes” on any emotional decisions emitting from the rising administration.
Upon his confirmation and ascension to role as Secretary of Defense, he will emerge and be historically remembered as a magnificent architect of refurbishment of an utterly exhausted, philosophically confused and ailing DOD.
No other living individual today exists more qualified than James Mattis to helm such profound a position and restore our American Warrior elite. Universal elation regarding his selection radiates throughout all ranks of both our Active Duty and Veterans alike. The ultimate reluctant warrior / poet, scholar and statesman without any true equal. Relief should furiously consume you all. Semper Fidelis"
Corporal Cole Thomas Lyle: “I''M SO HAPPY I COULD RE-ENLIST!”
Fmr. Air Force Captain Casey Betzold: “a move toward getting our military and security back where it needs to be!”
Gen. James Mattis being named to the Trump cabinet as Secretary of Defense signifies a move toward getting our military and security back where it needs to be! There is no better person for our current situation than Gen Mattis for this post!”
Sergeant Alex Plitsas: “someone who knows where all the bodies are buried at the Pentagon.”
He is everything you would want in a SECDEF. He's a seasoned warrior, combat tested, loved by the troops, exceptionally intelligent, a brilliant strategist, and someone who knows where all the bodies are buried at the Pentagon.
Sergeant Shaun Rieley: “a warrior-scholar.”
Personally, my favorite thing about him is that he's something of a warrior-scholar. He's a badass who knows what it means to lead men in combat but he also knows his theory—both military theory as well as international relations theory—and has depth beyond just being a “jarhead.”
Sergeant Chad Longell: “consistent unwavering leadership.”
The nomination of Gen Mattis is more than just a political appointment. He is one of the most revered legends in our military and signals a refreshing perspective desperately needed in a position which many service members have felt has become increasingly distant from the reality on the ground. Having an experienced and well respected leader like Gen Mattis is a hopeful opportunity to restore morale, respect, efficiency and deterrence in a military and world desperately in need of consistent unwavering leadership.
Sergeant Keith Porco: “knows our enemies.”
It’s about time the warfighter has a leader that has been there and knows our enemies and how to best deal with them”