It's hard to top General James "Mad Dog" Mattis, USMC (Ret.) when it comes to having a legendary status among this generation of Marines. In addition to his expertise as a combat commander, he's also known for saying some interesting stuff when he's found himself in front of a microphone.
Despite the "Mad Dog" nickname (which Mattis reportedly hates) his reputation as one of our country's most well-read and deep-thinking military leaders in decades is on par with his distinguished record as a warfighter.
While his recent tenure as Secretary of Defense seems to have tamed him a bit, he's still managed to let off a few memorable one-liners in that role.
Read on to see our ten favorite General Mattis quotes.
According to his former public affairs officer at 1stMarDiv, General Mattis paraphrased this quote from a saying by a Roman general. Mattis' version made its first appearance on the one-page commander's intent that he distributed to the Division just prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
This quote is the larger-scale, strategic-level version of a tactics-related quote that I remember hearing constantly at The Basic School and Infantry Officers Course -- "No plan survives first contact with the enemy." In any war, sport, or even a rivalry between businesses, you're competing against a thinking opponent who (a) can do unpredictable things in response to your plans and (b) won't quit until they're ready to.
According to Snopes this one is "unproven" but it sure sounds like something Mattis would say.
This quote reinforces the "no better friend" mindset that Mattis hoped to instill in those under his command. He knew that -- in a counterinsurgency fought without clear front lines against an enemy that attempted to blend in with the population -- there could be severe consequences to killing the wrong people or destroying the wrong buildings.
And our personal favorite...
AND DON'T FORGET:
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