You know how every so often you’ll stumble across some ridiculous nostalgia bait like “50 Child Stars You Forgot Existed” in your Facebook News Feed? It happens to us all the time, and it got us thinking: what have all our favorite generals been up to since the Global War on Terror began?
The results are mixed. Some have gone on to have illustrious post-military careers, while others will live out their retirement in relative infamy. And though this is in no way a comprehensive list of every general to serve in the military since the September 11th attacks, it certainly illustrates how far some have come — and how some of the mighty have fallen.
Navy Adm. John Richardson
Unlike most others on this list, Navy Adm. John Richardson has yet to retire, having been appointed to the position of chief of naval operations in 2015. Apparently, most of his daily responsibilities involve explaining to female sailors how they can now wear their hair buns through ballcaps. To be fair, that sounds like more fun than sorting out the Navy’s PCSing crisis.
Army Gen. Jerry Boykin
After retiring in 2007 from his position as deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence under former President George W. Bush, Army Gen. Jerry Boykin took up a new cause as executive vice president at the Family Research Council working to make American politics Christian again.
Navy Adm. William McRaven
Navy SEAL and Osama bin Laden raid commander Adm. William McRaven retired in 2014. His new mission is to mold young minds as the school Chancellor at the University of Texas, because unlike most people, he doesn’t hate millennials. Do you think he forces students and professors read his book, Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…and Maybe the World? We certainly hope so.
Army Gen. Martin Dempsey
Army Gen. Martin Dempsey who retired in 2015 after serving as the 18th chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff took a quiet job as a professor at Duke University teaching in 2015. In 2017, he was elected to serve as the chairman of the USA Men’s National Basketball Team, where he will remain until 2020. We wonder the transition is like from the battlefields to the basketball court, though shooting is an integral part of both the Army and the sport.
Army Gen. H.R. McMaster
Still serving in uniform, Army Gen. H.R. McMaster replaced Gen. Mike Flynn as President Donald Trump’s national security advisor. But it’s not going well: The Daily Beast reported that a military officers who served with McMaster want him to resign the post because he’s “tarnishing the military’s reputation” by serving as Trump’s administration while still on active duty.
Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal
After Rolling Stone published an article where Gen. Stanley McChrystal openly mocked civilian government officials in 2010, he resigned his post as the commander of U.S. and NATO coalition forces in Afghanistan and retired from the Army. But that didn’t stop him from teaching a course on leadership at Yale University or penning a number of books on the same topic, in addition to managing a consulting firm called the McChrystal Group. We like to think that in his spare time, McChrystal watches Brad Pitt portray him in War Machine, and thinks back to that interview that brought him down while noting that his on-screen counterpart’s hair looks really weird.
Navy Adm. James Stavridis
It was rumored that Adm. James Stavridis would be Hillary Clinton’s running mate during the Democratic primary, even though she decided to go with Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine. So Stavridis missed out, or maybe he dodged a bullet? Now, he serves as the dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. Sounds preferable to hiking through the woods.
Marine Corps Gen. James Amos
Marine Corps Gen. James Amos made a name for himself outside his long career in the armed forces for opposing the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and for his alleged abuse of power in a military justice case involving U.S. Marines urinating on Taliban insurgents on video. While he was still on active duty, Amos wanted to “reground the Corps” morally and ethically, which explains why he wanted the harshest punishment for the offenders found in the footage, though it didn’t totally happen. After his retirement in 2014, he’s laid relatively low: Amos took on the role of board chairman of the Semper Fi Fund, which provides emergency support and financial assistance and to post-9/11 veterans.
Army Gen. Mike Flynn
Gen. Mike Flynn has been all over the map since his retirement from the Army in 2014 — literally. While still on active duty, he served under former President Barack Obama as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency starting in 2012, but was forced out for his chaotic leadership style and lack of cohesive vision for the agency. Flynn worked as a consultant for two years before being selected as Trump’s national security advisor in 2016.
Unfortunately, the place he seemingly spent most of his time before Trump took office was in Russia’s pocket. In late 2016, the FBI began investigating whether Flynn had been in cahoots with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak before Trump was elected, and in February 2017 he resigned. When the Senate Intelligence Committee held a hearing on the issue, Flynn pleaded the fifth. Now, we imagine he’ll remain in hiding until this all blows over. We hope he packed a large piss bottle and plenty of MREs.
Army Gen. David Petraeus
After succeeding McChrystal in Afghanistan and retiring in 2011, Gen. David Petraeus was riding high as head of the CIA until he started thinking with the wrong head. Once the public learned that he engaged in an extramarital affair with Paula Broadwell — the author of his memoir and a fellow Army veteran — in 2012, Petraeus had no choice but to resign his position because he divulged classified information during the tryst. Since then, he launched a veteran gun control organization and has been aggressively trying win back influence in Washington.
Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis
Since retiring in 2014, legendary Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis has taken over the planet as Supreme Commander of Earth. Just kidding, he actually serves as Trump’s secretary of defense after receiving nearly unanimous approval from 98 senators in confirming his appointment to the cabinet position. But he’s a regular guy, just like us — he does his laundry in the Pentagon, attends boring Capitol Hill hearings, and goes by “Jim.” But you should avoid his bad side because he definitely has a plan to kill you, and likely has since the moment he met you.