Joe Plenzler is a retired Marine Corps infantry and public affairs officer and combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan. He served on the personal staff of the 34th, 35th, and 36th Commandants of the Marine Corps.
I first met Marine Gen. James Mattis in the summer of 2000 when he took command of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade. After his change of command ceremony, I introduced myself as his new public affairs officer. “PAO, huh?” Mattis said. “What, are you going to follow me around all day and make sure I don’t say ‘fuck?’”