Secretary of Defense Mattis headlines foundation event


Leader served with Gen. Hagee, foundation president


Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis was in Fredericksburg on Saturday night to deliver the keynote address at the Annual Nimitz Dinner held as part of the Admiral Nimitz Foundation Distinguished Speaker Series.

Mattis, a highly decorated Commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, answered questions from the audience following his presentation.

Gen. Michael Hagee (USMC, ret.), president and CEO of the Admiral Nimitz Foundation, introduced Mattis. The two worked together when Hagee served as 33rd Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps.

Following the speech, Hagee presented the defense secretary with a plaque that will be placed in the Memorial Courtyard at the National Museum of the Pacific War in honor of Mattis’ parents, both of whom served in World War II.

Saturday night’s program opened with the singing of the National Anthem by Donna Jackson and included cocktails and dinner.

The Admiral Nimitz Foundation supports, operates and manages the National Museum of the Pacific War which is a Texas Historical Commission property.


James N. Mattis

Mattis became the 26th Secretary of Defense on Jan. 20, 2017.

A native of Richland, Washington, Mattis enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve at the age of 18. After graduating from Central Washington University in 1971, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps.

During his more than four decades in uniform, Mattis commanded Marines at all levels, from an infantry rifle platoon to a Marine Expeditionary Force. He led an infantry battalion in Iraq in 1991, an expeditionary brigade in Afghanistan after the 9/11 terror attack in 2001, a Marine division in the initial attack and subsequent stability operations in Iraq in 2003, and led all U.S. Marine forces in the Middle East as Commander, I Marine Expeditionary Force and U.S. Marine Forces Central Command.

During his non-combat assignments, Mattis served as Senior Military Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Defense; as Director, Marine Corps Manpower Plans & Policy; as Commanding General, Marine Corps Combat Development Command; and as Executive Secretary to the Secretary of Defense.

As a joint force commander, Mattis commanded U.S. Joint Forces Command, NATO’s Supreme Allied Command for Transformation, and U.S. Central Command.

At U.S. Central Command, he directed military operations of more than 200,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen, Coast Guardsmen, Marines and allied forces across the Middle East.

Following his retirement from the U.S. Marine Corps in 2013, Mattis served as the Davies Family Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, specializing in the study of leadership, national security, strategy, innovation and the effective use of military force.

In 2016, he co-edited the book, “Warriors & Citizens: American Views of Our Military” (U.S. Department of Defense, 2017).



•Leadership Seminar from 3-5 p.m. on April 13 at the Nimitz Ballroom. Texas State Representative and U.S. Naval Academy graduate Rick Miller will lead the event.

•World War II Symposium from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sept. 22. Focus of this year’s symposium will be a closer look at Nimitz’s “Graybook.”

To register for either event, contact Barbara Ford at 830-997-8690, ext. 225, or