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Watch James Mattis Pay Tribute To John Glenn's Legendary Life Of Public Service
If there’s one thing you can always count on, it’s the humility and selflessness of James Mattis.
Accepting a public service award from Ohio State University's John Glenn College of Public Affairs at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. on June 20, the secretary of defense focused his conversation with Dean Trevor Brown not on his own history of public service, but on the school’s namesake.
“We all need role models in the world,” Mattis said of the late Glenn, whose service to the country included legendary stints as a Marine fighter pilot, the first American to orbit the Earth, and a U.S. senator from Ohio.
“We all need them, because they inspire us. They remind us that if we look at someone like this, we can always be better the next day. We all need a code and the role models we choose to remind us of what we can be in this country give us so many beautiful opportunities.”
Of course, not every American rises to the call of public service in the same way Glenn did, whose service to the U.S. spanned nearly 75 years, beginning with his enlistment in the military in 1942. But, Mattis said, the lesson of Glenn’s career isn’t the world-historical scale of your impact, passing groundbreaking legislation or risking your life to push the boundaries of human discovery — all you need to do to change the world is change a single person’s life.
"As we build this country in John Glenn's image, it's good to remember it doesn't matter where you do it, where you contribute,” Mattis said. “Your family, your parish, your school district, your county, your state, your country, the military, civil service, the intelligence agencies, wherever it is — it is a noble mission, and you have to remember that, especially when the going gets rough, and it's gotten a little rough here in our beautiful country."
The military has a particular way of fostering this human level sense of duty and service, according to Mattis: giving junior officers maximum responsibility but limited authority, forcing them to rely on their team and building a sense of service to each other and society, far beyond their number.
“It means putting aside petty grievances,” Mattis said. “It means accepting the humanity of the people standing and working next to you, not characterizing them by a certain political stripe or another, rather by their humanity … by remembering we're more connected than we are separated by those issues that have to do with our vision for this country as we all work together to turn it over in as good a shape or better than we received it. That's our obligation to the next generation."
Speaking to the assembled crowd, Glenn’s daughter Lynn relayed her late father’s affection for Mattis, “not just [because] he's a Marine, but also because he's a tremendous patriot and has been a patriot like Dad for all his life. That's been his commitment."
You can watch Mattis’ full remarks below:
KABUL/WASHINGTON/PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - The United States and the Taliban will sign an agreement on Feb. 29 at the end of a week long period of violence reduction in Afghanistan, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Taliban said on Friday.
Large cargo ships, small fishing boats and other watercraft sail safely past Naval Station Norfolk every day, but there's always a possibility that terrorists could use any one of them to attack the world's largest naval base.
While Navy security keeps a close eye on every vessel that passes, there's an inherent risk for the sailors aboard small patrol boats who are tasked with helping keep aircraft carriers, submarines and destroyers on base safe from waterborne attacks.
So the Navy experimented Wednesday to test whether an unmanned vessel could stop a small boat threatening the base from the Elizabeth River.
In the wee hours of Jan. 8, Tehran retaliated over the U.S. killing of Iran's most powerful general by bombarding the al-Asad air base in Iraq.
Among the 2,000 troops stationed there was U.S. Army Specialist Kimo Keltz, who recalls hearing a missile whistling through the sky as he lay on the deck of a guard tower. The explosion lifted his body - in full armor - an inch or two off the floor.
Keltz says he thought he had escaped with little more than a mild headache. Initial assessments around the base found no serious injuries or deaths from the attack. U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted, "All is well!"
The next day was different.
"My head kinda felt like I got hit with a truck," Keltz told Reuters in an interview from al-Asad air base in Iraq's western Anbar desert. "My stomach was grinding."
A video has emerged showing a U.S. military vehicle running a Russian armored truck off the road in Syria after it tried to pass an American convoy.
Questions still remain about the incident, to include when it occurred, though it appears to have taken place on a stretch of road near the Turkish border town of Qamishli, according to The War Zone.
Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.
We are women veterans who have served in the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. Our service – as aviators, ship drivers, intelligence analysts, engineers, professors, and diplomats — spans decades. We have served in times of peace and war, separated from our families and loved ones. We are proud of our accomplishments, particularly as many were earned while immersed in a military culture that often ignores and demeans women's contributions. We are veterans.
Yet we recognize that as we grew as leaders over time, we often failed to challenge or even question this culture. It took decades for us to recognize that our individual successes came despite this culture and the damage it caused us and the women who follow in our footsteps. The easier course has always been to tolerate insulting, discriminatory, and harmful behavior toward women veterans and service members and to cling to the idea that 'a few bad apples' do not reflect the attitudes of the whole.
Recent allegations that Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie allegedly sought to intentionally discredit a female veteran who reported a sexual assault at a VA medical center allow no such pretense.