“I don’t lose any sleep at night over the potential for failure. I cannot even spell the word.”

These are the words of USMC General James Mattis, perhaps the greatest General that has ever served in the Marine Corps. Through his leadership traits, power, and influence, he has led tens of thousands of Marines through 3 wars over the course of 41 years. What makes this man so great, so capable of leading?

His drive led him to becoming a commissioned officer after graduating from Central Washington State University in 1972. Upon demonstrating his capabilities of being a leader, he was assigned as the commanding officer of a recruiting station in Oregon and then led an invasion force in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. One may ask how he led a landing force of Naval Amphibious Group to a land locked country. Pay attention because this is where the power and influence pays off. He negotiated a deal with Pakistan in order to secure landing beaches and an airstrip so that American forces could capture Kandahar, the capital of Afghanistan.

During his tenure as commanding officer of the 1st Marine Division, he was known for saying, “I’m going to plead with you, do not cross us. Because if you do, the survivors will write about what we do here for 10,000 years.” He embodied the warrior ethos that is the Marine Corps and protected the American way of life the only way that he knew how. Leading by example. This is the man who patented the hearts and minds campaign that he later instrumented at the Center for Advanced Operational Culture Learning he established for officers and senior enlisted personnel.

Even though he is retired, he still offers his wisdom and critique to members of congress. In 2015, he emphasized the need for a “refreshed national strategy.” As a graduate of the Amphibious Warfare School, Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and the National War College, the General has the benefit of expert power in suggesting changes to protect the nation.

He has the drive to serve 41 years in the armed forces, the intelligence to establish a new military training program, and the ferocity to challenge anyone who would bring harm to America. Regardless of your opinions on war or religion, there is no doubt that General Mattis is one of the greatest Generals to have served the nation. He has left a great void in leadership that I am sure others are anxious to fill. Through his wonderful leadership, he had prepared the future generations of Marines to take the fight to the enemy and protect our way of life.

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