Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
Mattis' Farewell Message: 'Keep Faith In Our Country And Hold Fast'
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis sent a farewell message to all Department of Defense employees on Monday, instructing them to "keep the faith in our country and hold fast" at such a difficult time.
Mattis will transfer authority of the Department of Defense to his deputy Patrick Shanahan later this evening just before midnight. He resigned in protest over President Donald Trump's foreign policy views, which sharply diverged from his own, as he made clear in his resignation letter.
In his farewell, Mattis quoted a telegram from President Abraham Lincoln to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant sent during the Civil War, in which he said, "let nothing which is transpiring, change, hinder, or delay your military movements, or plans."
"Our Department's leadership, civilian and military, remains in the best possible hands," Mattis wrote. "I am confident that each of you remains undistracted from our sworn mission to support and defend the Constitution while protecting our way of life. Our Department is proven to be at its best when the times are most difficult. So keep the faith in our country and hold fast, alongside our allies, aligned against our foes."
Mattis' use of the phrase "hold fast" sounds familiar; In 2017, he told a group of American troops in Afghanistan that they just need to "hold the line until our country gets back to understanding and respecting each other."
"It has been my high honor to serve at your side," Mattis wrote in closing. "May God hold you safe in the air, on land, and at sea."
Read it below:
WATCH: Top 5 Mattis Quotes
A U.S. Air Force combat controller will receive the nation's third highest award for valor this week for playing an essential role in two intense firefight missions against the Taliban in Afghanistan last year.
Tech. Sgt. Cody Smith, an airman with the 26th Special Tactics Squadron, 24th Special Operations Wing at Air Force Special Operations Command, will receive the Silver Star at Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico on Nov. 22, the service announced Monday.
SARASOTA, Fla. — With data continuing to roll in that underscores the health benefits of cannabis, two Florida legislators aren't waiting for clarity in the national policy debates and are sponsoring bills designed to give medical marijuana cards to military veterans free of charge.
Former Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, whom President Donald Trump recently pardoned of his 2013 murder conviction, claims he was nothing more than a pawn whom generals sacrificed for political expediency.
The infantry officer had been sentenced to 19 years in prison for ordering his soldiers to open fire on three unarmed Afghan men in 2012. Two of the men were killed.
During a Monday interview on Fox & Friends, Lorance accused his superiors of betraying him.
"A service member who knows that their commanders love them will go to the gates of hell for their country and knock them down," Lorance said. "I think that's extremely important. Anybody who is not part of the senior Pentagon brass will tell you the same thing."
"I think folks that start putting stars on their collar — anybody that has got to be confirmed by the Senate for a promotion — they are no longer a soldier, they are a politician," he continued. "And so I think they lose some of their values — and they certainly lose a lot of their respect from their subordinates — when they do what they did to me, which was throw me under the bus."
Fifteen years after the U.S. military toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein, the Army's massive two-volume study of the Iraq War closed with a sobering assessment of the campaign's outcome: With nearly 3,500 U.S. service members killed in action and trillions of dollars spent, "an emboldened and expansionist Iran appears to be the only victor.
Thanks to roughly 700 pages of newly-publicized secret Iranian intelligence cables, we now have a good idea as to why.
BANGKOK (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Mark Esper expressed confidence on Sunday in the U.S. military justice system's ability to hold troops to account, two days after President Donald Trump pardoned two Army officers accused of war crimes in Afghanistan.
Trump also restored the rank of a Navy SEAL platoon commander who was demoted for actions in Iraq.
Asked how he would reassure countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq in the wake of the pardons, Esper said: "We have a very effective military justice system."
"I have great faith in the military justice system," Esper told reporters during a trip to Bangkok, in his first remarks about the issue since Trump issued the pardons.