Tag Archives: Robert Germano

Marine General James Mattis: The “Warrior Monk”

Many are only now starting to become aware of Gen. James “Mad Dog” Mattis, as his selection as Secretary of Defense (pending approval of a waiver of the National Security Act of 1947) has piqued the interest of anyone paying attention to the news. Yet Marines have been broadly aware of him for many years as Mattis served in the Marine Corps from 1969 to 2013. Indeed, Mattis has developed an almost cult like following among many Marines, particularly among those who served under him in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

For years now, I have seen my Marine friends posting comments Mattis on social media and hearing all sorts of stories about Mattis’ bravado. I recall once having lunch a few years ago with an old Marine friend, Christopher LaVigne, with whom I had recently reconnected. I recall that at one point in our conversation, Chris, a big 6 foot 3-inch-tall former Marine Staff Sgt. who has worked as a trucker for the last 20 years, started talking about Mattis, and quoting him, even pulling up quotations on his smart phone to show to me. I recall thinking how if a former Marine, twenty years removed from the Marine Corps, saw Mattis in such affectionate terms, it suggested a lot about the impact Mattis had on the psyche of the Marine Corps more broadly, as his legend has only grown in recent years since his retirement. Continue reading

Teaching Marines

I recently had one of the more rewarding teaching experiences of my career when I had the opportunity to present two lectures on the background of the so-called “Islamic State” to U.S. Marines from Company B, 4th Assault Amphibian Battalion. These were not just any Marines, mind you, but Marines from the reserve unit I once proudly served in as a sergeant. Continue reading