General James Mattis is well known for his hard hitting actions against terrorists and his epic quotes about war. He appears to be a hard-hearted man with no care for anything soft within the military, but some have been witness to a different side of Ole Mad Dog on occasion and this story in particular shows that the General is so much more than an old war dog.
Acts of purely unselfishness are not easy to come by these days, but this Christmas season we have been blessed to receive a story of just that. When a young soldier was given guard duty on a base post a few years back many were shocked to see who was in his place for the 24 hour stint. General Mattis stated that he took that shift so the soldier could be with his family for the holidays and that was that.
No need for payback, no request for a future favor. Just simple love, compassion, and giving for his fellow soldier.
According to the Western Journal :
Years before Marine Gen. James “Mad Dog” Mattis was selected by President Donald Trump to become the secretary of defense, he spent one Christmas Day demonstrating leadership by example.
Dr. Albert C. Pierce, founding director of the Center for the Study of Professional Military Ethics (now known as the Vice Admiral James B. Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership), recounted the story, originally told by Marine Gen. Charles Krulak, when he was introducing Mattis prior to a 2006 lecture on ethical challenges in conflict at the United States Naval Academy.
Krulak told Pierce about his and his wife’s Christmas tradition when he was the commandant of the Marine Corps. Every year, starting about a week before Christmas, the couple would bake hundreds of Christmas cookies and package them in small bundles.
On Christmas Day, Krulak would load the cookies into his vehicle and leave at about 4 a.m. to embark on a Santa-like journey.
Krulak drove to every Marine guard post in the Washington-Annapolis-Baltimore area and delivered a package of cookies to the Marines who were assigned to guard duty on Christmas Day.
One year, Krulak went to Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia to deliver cookies. Arriving at the command center, he gave a package of cookies to the lance corporal who was on duty.
“Who’s the officer of the day?” Krulak asked the lance corporal.
“Sir, it’s Brigadier General Mattis,” the soldier replied.
“No, no, no,” Krulak said. “I know who General Mattis is. I mean, who’s the officer of the day today, Christmas Day?”
Appearing somewhat uneasy, the lance corporal insisted, “Sir, it is Brigadier General Mattis.”
Krulak then spotted a cot in the back room and said, “No, lance corporal. Who slept in that bed last night?”
The soldier said, “Sir, it was Brigadier General Mattis.”
About that time, Mattis came in, wearing a duty uniform with a sword.
Krulak said, “Jim, what are you doing here on Christmas day? Why do you have duty?”
According to Krulak, Mattis told him that the young officer who was scheduled for duty on Christmas Day had a family. Mattis had decided to personally fill in for that officer so he could enjoy being with his family on Christmas Day.
“That’s the kind of officer that Jim Mattis is,” Krulak told Pierce.
That was the kind of Officer Mattis was, and it is still the kind of amazing human being he is today. He may seem hard, and battle tough, but James Mattis is one of the few left with a heart of gold the size of Texas.
As a nation we couldn’t be more lucky to have a Secretary of Defense of the caliber that Mattis is and always will be. Above any real approach, but heavily settled on the balanced ground of values that this country is firmly rooted from. He would make an amazing President if he so chose to run in 2020 or 2024 and his vote would be secure with We The People who know who he really is deep down.
Merry Christmas America, and a very Merry Christmas to General Mattis. May all the good he has put out be returned to him a hundred fold.
H/T [ Western Journal ]