It is no secret that Secretary of Defense James Mattis needs no escort regardless of where he may decide to travel. If anyone was stupid enough to try and take him on they wouldn’t last too long. Yet it is still worthy of mentioning when he just suddenly seems to just leave America. We often wonder what in the world happened now to get the feet of such a man moving in a manner that was not mentioned and where in the world could he be going?
The most amazing thing about Mattis is that his solid-as-steel military reserve is equally balanced and matched by his big heart and compassion. We have heard the story of him taking over a lower ranking soldiers gate guard duty one year for Christmas because the soldier had a family and Mattis is a long time bachelor, and this year he is once again going out of his way to make Christmas perhaps just a bit merrier for some.
After leaving American soil with only one AP reporter with him, Mattis was seen with American troops in Cuba:
Here he is after leaving Cuba giving troops in Guantanamo a pep-talk:
Mattis has always gone out of his way to be with troops on Christmas and this year is no different. His itinerary also consists of Camp Lejeune, Ft. Bragg, and the Mayport naval base. We can be pretty sure that those are not his only stops.
According to the Independent Journal Review :
On Wednesday, Secretary of Defense James Mattis left Washington, D.C., and did not tell the majority of the press that he had left, much less where he was going. It turns out he is currently on a trip visiting service members during the Christmas season.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Mattis will visit Camp Lejeune, Ft. Bragg, and the Mayport naval base. He is accompanied by one AP reporter. Pentagon Press Secretary Dana White did not say why the trip wasn’t announced.
Mattis has already visited the troops stationed at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The AP reports he was only there to meet with service members and did not tour the detention facilities or discuss detainee policy.
He is the first defense secretary to visit the base since 2002, when then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld toured the facility shortly after the first detainees arrived.
Mattis is known for being around the troops during the holidays, including the now-famous story of when he replaced a married major who was scheduled to be on guard duty on Christmas day. Because Mattis is not married, he took his place so the major could be with his family.
Telling then-Commandant Gen. Charles Krulak, who found him pulling duty: “Sir, I looked at the duty roster for today and there was a young major who had it who is married and had a family; and so I’m a bachelor, I thought why should the major miss out on the fun of having Christmas with his family, and so I took the duty for him.”
James Mattis is almost like the Santa Claus of the Military, and it is inspiring to see a man with so much on his shoulders every single day still continue to unselfishly give time to our men and women who cannot be home for the holidays. The troops have always been extremely grateful for the visits from Mattis, and he seems to boost their spirits just by being there. His life is the military and probably always will be which is why it is completely understandable that he knows exactly how hard the holidays are for those who are stuck in an unfamiliar place with no loved ones to share these special days with.
I hope this is a tradition that Mattis continues for as long as he can. His heart inspires many to be more giving of their time even if they may not have the extra time to give. If he can find the time, then surely anyone can. May he have a wonderful Christmas and a safe trip all around.
Merry Christmas Troops, and God Bless each and every one of you!