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Outgoing Secretary of Defense James Mattis issues his final holiday message to US troops

Decorated general reminds military personnel in the field they are 'holding the line'

Image source: Twitter video screenshot

Outgoing Secretary of Defense James Mattis issued a final holiday message to U.S. troops on Christmas Eve "holding the line." The decorated general is set to leave his post at the Pentagon before Jan. 1.

What are the details?

Mattis issued his resignation letter to President Donald Trump last week over foreign policy disagreements, following reports that the commander in chief would be withdrawing all military personnel from Syria. Although Mattis planned to step down at the end of February, the president announced Sunday that Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan would be taking over the top spot starting on the first of the year.

In a video recorded Dec. 19 — one day prior to submitting his resignation letter — Mattis told U.S. troops, "To all you lads and lasses holding the line in 2018, on land, at sea, or in the air, thanks for keeping the faith. Merry Christmas and may God hold you safe."

On Christmas Eve, the Department of Defense released a letter penned by the secretary of defense, echoing the messaging from his video and again reiterating to "those in the field or at sea, 'keeping watch by night' this holiday season...in this world awash in change, you hold the line."

Anything else?

President Trump took a parting shot at Mattis on Twitter the same day, saying the defense secretary did not share the president's concerns over other countries taking advantage of the United States through military and trade agreements.

Mattis, 48, has served as secretary of defense since January 2017.

One last thing…
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