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Jim Mattis’ Farewell Message to the Pentagon

The following is Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis’ Dec. 31, 2018 farewell message to the Department of Defense.

SUBJECT: Farewell Message

On February 1, 1865, President Lincoln sent to General Ulysses S. Grant a one sentence telegram. It read: “Let nothing which is transpiring, change, hinder, or delay your military movements, or plans.”

Our Department’s leadership, civilian and military, remains in the best possible hands. I am confident that each of you remains undistracted from our sworn mission to support and defend the Constitution while protecting our way of life. Our Department is proven to be at its best when the times are most difficult. So keep the faith in our country and hold fast, alongside our allies, aligned against our foes.

It has been my high honor to serve at your side. May God hold you safe in the air, on land, and at sea.


James N. Mattis

Download the letter here.

  • NavySubNuke

    Well said. Good luck to DepSecDef – those are some big shoes to fill, we will see how long he can last in the hot seat.

  • Duane

    A sense of history, and responsibility to the nation. Well communicated. The Trumpists are seething at it because of the implied smallness of their man, for whom sending such a message is unimaginable.

    • muzzleloader

      Seething? You have been seething for two years now.
      If you would set your politics aside for a moment, you could recall that Obama went through four SecDefs during his presidency.

    • old guy

      Duane, remember,”A closed mouth gathers no feet. You should not exhibit your smallness of mind

  • Annie May

    Godspeed Sir. Our nation is better for your service.

  • DaSaint

    Well said. All the best to Gen. Mattis.

  • old guy

    Service to this country is an honor I have as a WW2 vet. Your outstanding service dwarfs mine but it, along with that of millions of other patriots, will support the unequalled greatness of the United States of America.
    I am somewhat disappointed in the letter. It is disrespectful and exhibits a smallness in you that I never knew. I’m sure Jim Jones would agree with me,
    HOWEVER, Our Navy wish for you; May you have,”Fair Winds and Following Seas.”

  • James

    Your service to our great country will be missed by your great leadership

  • Carroll39

    The times are no less perilous than they were in February 1865. Thank you General Mattis. Your service at this critical time will long be remembered and appreciated.

    Carroll Starling, Chaplain, U.S. Navy, Retired.

  • Chesapeakeguy

    Sec. Mattis is a man worthy of our respect and admiration. I wish him the best. However, a Cabinet member is there to advance and promote their boss’s policies. It is reported that Sec. Mattis objected to some aspects of President Trump’s efforts to get tough with some of our supposed, alleged allies and their playing this country for chumps in their continuing reneging on the very agreements they committed to when it comes to mutual defense obligations. I think that approach is long overdue. I hope the President finds someone who will indeed be tough on them.

    • MaskOfZero

      You are very kind–much kinder than me.

      Mattis is not a stupid man, and he knew who he was working for when he accepted the job. Yet still, he took the job–then fought the president elected by the American people every step of the way. Trump was very clear in his campaign speeches what his policies would be–so Mattis knew in advance.

      While Mattis was virtue signalling over transgender ‘rights’ and climate change, he was sucking up to ‘allies’ who were using him to drive a wedge between American military policy and the president’s wishes. Mattis was publicly and privately contemptuous of President Trump, and he seemed to think that Trump was politically ‘stuck’ with Mattis, therefore, Mattis could run his own show.

      Trump was the one who brought up the ridiculous paradox of Germany planning for a Russian pipeline which would make Germany completely dependent upon Putin for their fuel requirements, yet wanting NATO to protect Germany from Putin? Where was Mattis on this?

      Trump was tough, but fair, insisting that the US wanted ‘allies’ not protectorates. Germany and many other wealthy European nations have been providing generous social benefits to their people, while depending upon the US taxpayer to subsidize their security bill–and to add insult to injury, to run a trade surplus with the US, and put multiple tariff and non-tariff barriers on US products.

      Mattis was completely oblivious to all this, preferring to be popular with his European friends who praised him so much.

      The straw that broke the camel’s back is that the European Union’s arrogant, unelected leaders were publicly contemptuous of President Trump and were openly anti-US (they have been for decades), and spoke of creating a European Army. In their hubris, they actually publicly claimed that the reason for a peaceful post-war Europe was due to the EU and not NATO. Without NATO, the EU would never have existed or persisted. Do you think Putin is afraid of an EU army? They can’t even pay their military bills now, so what would happen without the US to hold the alliance together? At this time, Mattis was not a general, but a SecDef, engaged in policy and politics. But all of this went right over Mattis’ head.

      Don’t even talk about Afghanistan and Syria, where Mattis was on board with the perpetual wars and the role of the US as World Police, protecting Muslims who hate the US from attacking each other. Mattis tried to play a sad violin song about how the US would abandoning ‘allies’ by leaving Syria, even though every one of those allies would stab the US in the back without hesitation if they could safely do so.

      Mattis KNEW that America had WASTED 7 trillion dollars in the Middle East only to make matters worse–yet STILL he wanted perpetual American involvement. Trump told Mattis we kill ISIS then leave, but after ISIS was destroyed, Mattis moved the goal posts yet again.

      News flash: America does not need Arab oil. There is no longer a compelling national security interest for Middle East involvement. The US needs to close bases in the Middle East, and use the money saved to buy new equipment.

      I could go on, but suffice to say–I will not miss Mattis.

  • old guy

    I am troubled with your leaving. You have been a source of lntelligent analysis and reporting, for me. I believe that USNI endeavors to be fair in its editorial policy, but conventionakl thought seems to pull it to the left. The President operates so far from the conventional D.C, protocols that it is difficult for long time players, like the editors, to comprehend the magnitude of the favorable effects his actions have resulted in.

    The recent one that stands out is the moving of our embassy to Jerusalem, acknowledging what has always been true, that a countriy’s right to have its capital wherever it wants. In normal times, the move would have made a small mentiuon on page 20 or so of the news. Now, you would think that it was a decleration of war.

    • Chesapeakeguy

      As I predicted, my reply to you didn’t last long on here. That’s TWO of my posts removed in the past day. This site IS corrupted. And it is a disgrace!

      • muzzleloader

        Welcome to the club. BTW, did you notice when the President and First Lady made a surprise Christmas visit to Iraq to visit the troops, there was total crickets at this site?

        • Chesapeakeguy

          I did. It appears that we can add USNI as yet another propaganda arm of the DNC.

          • old guy

            I would regret your leaving, as I have stated before. We all must inundate them with the truth. Right makes Might.

        • old guy

          I was also disappointed.. 3 cheers for our great President, and may the worms of their hate burrow through his enemies.

  • MDK187

    Well, Mattis has committed his last act of verbal double-dealing and covert insubordination to the detriment of his boss. Not exactly soldierly conduct. Or patriotic, for that matter. But if Mattis had ever really possessed those wonderful traits of integrity and character, then he would never have been one of the directors on the board of scam-company Theranos, now would he?
    More interesting questions, however : who was Mattis really serving and to what point does the institutional Navy find it profitable to give backing to the activist McCain/Mattis-types? There will have to be a very significant rearrangement of national resources in the Dod (just as in other departments). Why should the people have to keep forking over the heavy billions into a service that keeps generating more political obstructionists than any other? A strong Navy is desirable, but not indispensable. It’s not the 1920s anymore.

    • Semper Fi

      You are an idiot. Mattis is the most respected man within the US military and NATO nations and the most feared man by our enemies. Mattis has always displayed integrity and honor, your statement couldn’t be further from the truth and I’m proud to have served under his leadership.

      • MDK187

        Because, after all, you’re a blindfolded idiot.

    • Epictetus

      General and Secretary James Mattis is among, if not the, finest military officer of his generation. Your post could not be more incorrect. This country would do well to find more leaders like James Mattis than those currently on both sides of the political aisle.

      • MDK187

        In more detail, what is incorrect?