General Who Oversaw Iraq Drawdown Takes Over CentCom

Army Gen. Lloyd Austin follows 'legendary' Marine Gen. James Mattis.

The Senate Armed Services Committee considers the nominations of Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, left, for commander of the U.S. Central Command, and Gen. David M. Rodriguez, right, for U.S. Africa Command.

The Senate Armed Services Committee considers the nominations of Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, left, for commander of the U.S. Central Command, and Gen. David M. Rodriguez, right, for U.S. Africa Command.

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[READ: Marine General Says White House Will Keep Forces in Afghan Province]

He called Mattis "a visionary, and yet he's molded out of the same grit as Chesty Puller," citing the World War II and Korean War commander Lieutenant General Lewis Burwell Puller, whose five Navy Crosses for valor helped earn his legendary status in the Marine Corps.

Mattis offered his praise to the continued strength of the all-volunteer military.

"The summer soldiers are long gone, Mr. Secretary. And here today stands the remainder of America's awesome determination to defend herself," he said.

"After more than 10 years of war, our ranks remain filled by top quality volunteers," Mattis said, who "look beyond the political rhetoric and answered our country's call."

He welcomed Austin back to what he calls "America's varsity."

More News:

  • Debate Club: Should the U.S. Withdraw From Afghanistan Sooner?
  • The Underestimated Cost, and Pricetag, of the Iraq War
  • Former General Offers Leadership Lesson to Wartime Presidents