President-Elect Donald Trump has named a former leader of U.S. Central Command to become the next Secretary of Defense.
Retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis led U.S. Central Command, which is based at Tampa's MacDill Air Force Base before relinquishing command in March 2013.
As a tribute to Mattis’ leadership, then Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel attended the change of command ceremony when Mattis left MacDill Air Force Base.
Mattis was beloved by the men and women who served with him. He in turn acknowledged them in his farewell speech at CENTCOM in March 2013.
“I would happily 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.”
“Here today stand a reminder of America's awesome determination to defend herself. Here today you see a reminder to the maniacs who by attacking us on 9-11 thinking, thinking that they could scare us, we remind them that descendants of Valley Forge don't scare.”
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.
Trump made the announcement during a post-election victory rally in Cincinnati on Thursday night.