Gen. James Mattis: ‘Now it’s time to go’


Like no other officer in a generation, Gen. James Mattis has inspired those around him with his wisdom, candor and appreciation for rank-and-file U.S. service members. Now, he’s planning to retire, wrapping up a 41-year career in which he led Task Force 58 during the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan and 1st Marine Division during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

I examine Mattis’ place in history in Marine Corps Times’ cover story this week. The story is currently available online on Marine Corps Times Prime.

Since 2010, the general known by the call sign “Chaos” has run U.S. Central Command, overseeing the war in Afghanistan and other U.S. military throughout the Middle East. He’s expected to be replaced by Army Gen. Lloyd Austin on March 22.

Mattis himself weighed in for the story, saying in an email that he prefers to end his career quietly.

“I’ve had some ‘riotous excursions of the human spirit’ alongside the young Sailors and Marines and it’s time to leave the stage to the young leaders who got their rank the old-fashioned way — they earned their stripes in combat,” he said. “The Corps is in good hands, and it’s been a privilege to serve with the Leathernecks. Now it’s time to go.”

We’ve got multiple anecdotes about Mattis that you’ve likely never heard before, thanks to interviews with Gen. John Kelly, Brig. Gen. Paul Kelly, Col. Mike Groen and others. A source also shared details about a closed-door all-hands meeting in which Mattis spoke at CENTCOM headquarters at MacDill Air Force Base on March 8.

Was there a new “Mattisism”? Of course there was.

Again, the story is online here.


About Author

I'm a senior writer with Marine Corps Times, covering ground warfare, manpower, weapons acquisition and other beats. I embedded in Afghanistan in spring 2010, and plan to return at least once in 2011.


  1. Pingback: *16 Best Quotes of Gen. James “Mad Dog” Mattis | Marine Corps League, Dayton Detachment 271

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  3. Oooorah and Semper Fi, to the General. I would serve with a

    MAN of his Caracter today even at my age.

    Semper Fi Sir

    An Old Korean war era Marine.

  4. Pingback: The Best from Gen. 'Mad Dog Mattis' | Boudica BPI Weblog

  5. Pingback: The Best from Gen. ‘Mad Dog Mattis’ | Boudica BPI Weblog

  6. General, although in my day I never had the privalage of serving under your command, it is good to see the example you have set for those to follow. I was 0341 and would have followed you to he’ll and back and whipped some ass along the way. Semper Fi Sir R/S max DuVall Sgt of Marines

  7. Christopher H. Byrne SGT USMCR on

    I served with General Mattis in Afghanistan as part of Task Force 58. He was no doubt the finest Marine officer I have ever had the pleasure of serving with. One of my biggest regrets is not re-enlisting at Khandahar International Airport and having him do the honors, I no doubt would have been along with him in Iraq. I did receive the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal awarded directly from him and is one of my proudest accomplishments while in the Corps.

  8. No one more loved.

    No one more respected.

    No one more missed.

    God Bless you and yours, General!



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