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A General Mattis Christmas Story-Truth!

A General Mattis Christmas Story-Truth!

Summary of eRumor:
A commentary making the rounds titled “A General Mattis Christmas Story” tells about how President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to serve as Secretary of Defense, Gen. James “Mad Dog” Mattis personally filled in for an officer on duty so the officer could spend Christmas Day with his young family.
The Truth:
“A General Mattis Christmas Story” has been correctly attributed to Dr. Albert C. Pierce, the director of the Center for the Study of Professional Military Ethics at the United States Military Academy.
Pierce recounted the “General Mattis Christmas Story” story while introducing Gen. James “Mad Dog” Mattis before a lecture titled “Ethical Challenges in Contemporary Conflict: The Afghanistan and Iraq Classes” at the United States Naval Academy in the spring of 2006. An archived recording of Pierce’s introduction can be heard here.
Peirce’s General Mattis Christmas Story was a retelling of a story told by Gen. Charles Kruliak. Kruliak and his wife made and delivered hundreds of Christmas cookies to Marine guard posts in the Washington-Annapolis-Baltimore area each Christmas. One year, while making a cookie delivery to Quantico, Kruliak asked was surprised to find Mattis filling in for the officer in comamnd:

…General Krulak said that General Mattis came in, in a duty uniform with a sword, and General Krulak said, “Jim, what are you doing here on Christmas Day? Why do you have duty?” General Mattis told him that the young officer who was scheduled to have duty on Christmas Day had a family, and General Mattis decided it was better for the young officer to spend Christmas Day with his family, and so he chose to have duty on Christmas Day…

The General Mattis Christmas story has been circulating in forum posts and forwarded emails as far back as 2010 — but it resurfaced in 2016 after President-elect Trump announced that he would nominate Mattis to serve as secretary of defense.