Retired U.S. Marine Gen. James Mattis, who was part of the military leadership based at Tampa’s MacDill Air Force Base, is being considered for a cabinet post in the new Trump Administration.
On March 22, 2013, Gen. Mattis handed over command of U.S. Central Command to Army Gen. Lloyd Austin III. In tribute to Mattis’ leadership, several high ranking officers including then-Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, attended the ceremony at MacDill AFB.
“Mr. Secretary, Chairman (Gen. Marin Dempsey), I would gladly storm hell in the company of these troops who I haven’t the words sufficient to praise. So I will not try. They know how strongly I believe in them, how strongly they have demonstrated to the world that free men and women can fight like the dickens,” Mattis said in his remarks.
You can listen to Mattis’ entire farewell speech where he praised the soldiers, seamen, airmen and Marines of the joint command who he said are working seven days a week on continued deployments.
Also in attendance for Mattis’ ceremony: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey; Gen. James Amos, Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps; Gen. Carl Mundy, Jr. (ret.), former Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps; Gen. Joseph Hoar (ret.), former Commander U.S. CENTCOM; and Admiral Bill McCraven, Commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command.
Mattis was the 13th commander of CENTCOM, a posting that has turned several of its former commanders into household names such as Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, Gen. Tommy Franks, Gen. John Abazaid, and Gen. David Petraeus.