2019 on Deck: Mattis Says Goodbye, Dunford’s Last Year, Neller’s Last Year as Commandant

 In Military

As 2019 is upon us, some changes are in store: General James Mattis issued a letter of farewell this morning to the DoD, and General Robert Neller, Commandant of the Marine Corps will complete his 4 year term in 2019. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Joseph Dunford is expected to leave at the end of his term in October, 2019.

Army General Mark Milley has been nominated to replace General Dunford, which was another bone of contention for James Mattis- he wanted Air Force General David Goldfein.  Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan was shoved into the position of Acting SecDef when Mattis was forced out early. Who the Commandant of the Marine Corps will be is still up in the air.  But all of these things spell big changes for both the Corps and the rest of the service branches.

General James Mattis said goodbye in a letter this morning: It was short and to the point, no politics. We will most definitely miss his quintessential remarks. No matter his views on Trump, Mattis remains a legend in the Marine Corps, worthy of honor for his service. According to Military Times,

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,” he continued. “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.

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


General Robert Neller, a former Infantry officer, has been a controversial figure throughout his tenure as Commandant. He was often accused of being out of touch with modern technology, and “re-shaping” the Corps culture…some things which did not endear him to many Marines. However, in fairness, he has a lot on his plate: updating technology for the “grunts,” attempting to integrate women, modernizing the USMC in order to face whatever is ahead of them…and doing all of that with a recruitment pool that is slowly dwindling due to snowflake-itis. It has been a tough place to be in for anyone. He has even been toying with making 15-man rifle squads instead of the traditional 12 according to the Marine Corps Times.

Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford says he has no plans to retire before his date in October. But since a replacement has been chosen by the President, we’ll have to see how that works out. Dunford and Mattis are good friends and have a similar viewpoint.


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