Select Page

Defense Secretary James N. Mattis said he’s impressed by service members’ high morale and the steadfastness of the force in light of its involvement in more than a decade of war.

The secretary spoke to Pentagon reporters on Friday.

“We have reenlistment rates that are good. We have enlistment rates that are going well,” he said. “Considering all that has gone on in this long war, we have high morale.”

Mattis spoke of seeing an aide from 2004 now based in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He was an artillery lieutenant and is now a lieutenant colonel Cobra helicopter pilot. He was terribly wounded in Iraq. “He tells me his wife is with him all the way, which is always a concern — the families and all they have put up with over these years,” he said. “I am a bit surprised by the [high] morale and steadfastness of the force.”

He is also impressed by the young people joining the force. “Drill instructors … told me the average physical fitness test score for recruits … is 270 average,” he said. “We haven’t raised the standard, but we are getting in people who are more physically fit. And, by the way, the percentage of people in the top mental groups has gone up as well.” Read more

Read also: Turkish Banker Convicted of Conspiring to Evade U.S. Sanctions Against Iran and Other Offenses

Defense Secretary James N. Mattis said he’s impressed by service members’ high morale and the steadfastness of the force in light of its involvement in more than a decade of war.

The secretary spoke to Pentagon reporters on Friday.

“We have reenlistment rates that are good. We have enlistment rates that are going well,” he said. “Considering all that has gone on in this long war, we have high morale.”

Mattis spoke of seeing an aide from 2004 now based in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He was an artillery lieutenant and is now a lieutenant colonel Cobra helicopter pilot. He was terribly wounded in Iraq. “He tells me his wife is with him all the way, which is always a concern — the families and all they have put up with over these years,” he said. “I am a bit surprised by the [high] morale and steadfastness of the force.”

He is also impressed by the young people joining the force. “Drill instructors … told me the average physical fitness test score for recruits … is 270 average,” he said. “We haven’t raised the standard, but we are getting in people who are more physically fit. And, by the way, the percentage of people in the top mental groups has gone up as well.”