07 September, 2008


Though some observers consider him a bit rough around the edges, General Mattis is highly respected in most military circles. And as with any larger than life figure, legends have begun to develop around him. I suspect this story (from an impeccable source) could soon become one of them. It certainly shows one of the reasons he is held in esteem by so many...

Marine Corporal Q has just had his 3rd Humvee in the last two weeks blown up by an IED in Iraq, and he doesn't react too well to it. When the small arms fire is over and the area has been secured, he goes back to the Humvee and starts beating on it with his kevlar. He's ticked. This one was a good one and he had really liked it. But it now has two flat tires, a damaged windshield and front grill, and all down the passenger side it's full of shrapnel.

His fellow Marines break out the jacks and Cpl. Q proceeds to begin changing the tires, since the vehicle is still operational--it just has some new openings for air conditioning.

No sooner has Cpl. Q gotten the jack set, when an entourage arrives on the scene. Here he is, just having finished beating on his truck, face still bloody from minor wounds... he has a concussion and he's really p***** off... and someone breaks off from the entourage and walks up directly behind him. His ears are still ringing from the IED, so he can't clearly hear the person greeting him. He turns his head and sees a Marine with no gear on and in cammies, so he knows the guy's important. He looks over the guy's shoulder and sees his battalion commanding officer in the entourage, and now he really knows the guy is somebody important.

But Cpl. Q just flat doesn't give a rip. As he turns around to face the visitor, his CO is heard to gasp, "Oh God, anybody but Q!" The guy who had come up behind Cpl. Q asks him if he's alright and Q responds, "Good to go, sir," then immediately turns back to jacking up the truck.

The guy then asks Q if he's been in a fight. Way too wired to care, the corporal responds, "No s***, sir! Ya' think?" The corporal's CO is now watching in horror.

After a pause, the guy inquires, "Son, do you know who I am?"

The young corporal replies, "No f***ing clue, sir, and right now I really don't give a flying f***!"

The unknown man replies gently, "We'll just keep it that way, son. Keep up the good work, Marine."

General Mattis turns away from Corporal Q and walks back up to the battalion CO. "That kid's one hell of a Marine," he says. "If that's the kind of Marines they have in [this unit], then they'll do."