Top 15 James “Mad Dog” Mattis Facts, Bio & Career

Just appointed as Secretary of Defense, James “Mad Dog” Mattis has an interesting history.

In today’s post, we are going to take a look at our most recent Secretary of Defense who was appointed to the position by President Donald Trump.

I am going to give you a short biography and explain his career up to the point of his being appointed to this important position that heads the United State’s military.

I will also give you the to 15 facts about James “Mad Dog” Mattis.

“If in order to kill the enemy you have to kill an innocent, don’t take the shot. Don’t create more enemies than you take out by some immoral act.” James “Mad Dog” Mattis

James Mattis’ Biography

John West Mattis was a merchant mariner and Lucille Proulx was brought to America by her parents as a baby.

She worked in South Africa during World War II in Army Intelligence.

These 2 met and wed and they produced James Mattis. On September 8th, 1950 in Pullman, Washington.

Moving to Richland, Washington, James was good in school.

He graduated from Columbia High in Richland in 1968 and promptly enlisted in the United States Marine Corps.

There is not much information on James’ early enlisted years, but in 1971, James earned a Bachelor of Arts in History from Central Washington University where he also participated in the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC).

Upon graduating from ROTC in 1972, James was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant and his career in the United States Marine Corps began.

“Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.” James “Mad Dog” Mattis

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James Mattis’ Career

James began as a rifle and weapons platoon commander with the 3rd Marine Division.

He was then given an assignment as the Naval Preparatory School Battalion Officer as a Captain, along with commanding the 1st Marine Regiment’s Rifle and Weapons Companies.

As Major, James was assigned to the Portland, Oregon Recruiting Station.

As Lieutenant Colonel, James was the Commander of the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines during the Persian Gulf War.

At the position of Colonel, James Commanded the 7th Marine Regiment.

When promoted to Brigadier General, our new Secretary of Defense Commanded the 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade.

The War in Afghanistan was in its first stages and James was Commander of Task Force 58.

During the Invasion of Iraq in 2003, James was now a Major General and Commanded the 1st Marine Division.

At the promotion to Lieutenant General, James took the helm of the Marine Corps Combat Development Command.

In May of 2006, the Pentagon gave Lieutenant General Mattis Command of I Marine Expeditionary Force, and in 2007, President George W. Bush nominated James to be given the rank of General and to Command the U.S. Joint Forces Command.

NATO agreed and the Senate confirmed.

In 2010, President Obama nominated James to take over United States Central Command.

In this position, James was the dominating Commander for the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and conflicts in the complete region.

That position resulted in conflict between the Obama administration and General Mattis.

He retired from the Marine Corps in 2013.

“I don’t lose any sleep at night over the potential for failure. I cannot even spell the word.” James “Mad Dog” Mattis

After the Marines

James worked for FWA Consultants and was also a member of the General Dynamics Board of Directors.

Starting in 2013, James was a board member of Theranos.

And now, James “Mad Dog” Mattis is our newest Secretary of Defense.

“The most important 6 inches on the battlefield is between your ears.” James “Mad Dog” Mattis

Top 15 James “Mad Dog” Mattis Facts

These are in no particular order; just some random facts about our new Secretary of Defense:

  1. In June of 2013, James served as the Davies Family Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.
  2. James carried the book Meditations by Marcus Aurelius throughout his military career.
  3. He is the 26th Secretary of Defense.
  4. James considered running as an Independent in this Presidential race.
  5. James was a co-editor of the book Warriors & Citizens: American Views Of Our Military.
  6. In Afghanistan, James was often seen in the midst of danger conversing with enlisted Marines.
  7. As well as the nickname Mad Dog, James is also known as “The Warrior Monk.” This is because he has never married and his wife is the Marines.
  8. In his leadership of Task Force 58, James became the 1st Marine officer to Command a Naval Task Force in combat.
  9. He believes one of our top issues in the Middle East right now is Iran.
  10. James ordered a bombing of a suspect terrorist house near Syria. Claims were made that it was a wedding party… but at 3 AM? James Mattis’ answer was superb: “How many people go to the middle of the desert… to hold a wedding 80 miles from the nearest civilization? These were more than two dozen military-age males. Let’s not be naive.”
  11. James and David Petraeus co-wrote The Counterinsurgency Field Manual.
  12. In the Middle East, James encouraged Marines to grow mustaches so they looked more like those they were around.
  13. James was on the advisory board of Spirit of America which is a non-profit that helps both Americans and natives of local areas in Middle East and African war-torn areas.
  14. James is the 2nd Secretary of Defense to be granted a waiver of the National Security Act of 1947 which says that the Secretary of Defense must be retired from the military at least 7 years. The 1st was George Marshall.
  15. Mattis agrees with John Kerrey on the Israel and Palestine conflict. He believes in a 2 state solution.

“In this age, I don’t care how tactically or operationally brilliant you are, if you cannot create harmony — even vicious harmony — on the battlefield based on trust across service lines, across coalition and national lines, and across civilian/military lines, you need to go home, because your leadership is obsolete. We have got to have officers who can create harmony across all those lines.” James “Mad Dog” Mattis

Military Awards

James “Mad Dog” Mattis has been awarded many military decorations. They include:

  • Defense Distinguished Service Medal with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster
  • Navy Distinguished Service Medal
  • Defense Superior Service Medal
  • Legion of Merit
  • Bronze Star with V
  • Meritorious Service Medal with 2 Gold Stars
  • Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal
  • Combat Action Ribbon
  • Navy and Marine Corps Presidential Unit Citation
  • Joint Meritorious Unit Award
  • Navy Unit Commendation
  • and many more

“You are part of the world’s most feared and trusted force. Engage your brain before you engage your weapon.” James “Mad Dog” Mattis

Final Thoughts

As we move into a new chapter in American history, I believe we can be sure of one thing: the United States military is being led by the most capable leader possible.

We will see great things going forward in this writer’s opinion.

What are your thoughts?

Please leave any comments and questions below.

Thank you.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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