Student veterans at LPC were treated to a meeting with General Mattis on Jan. 26.
General Mattis held various Marine Corps positions, culminating as Commander of U.S. Central Command in July 2010. After his retirement from the Marine Corps, he served in various civilian positions until he was appointed the Secretary of Defense by President Trump. Mattis held the position of Secretary of Defense from January 2017 until January 2019 when he resigned over some of Trump’s positions on world events.
Todd Steffan, LPC Veterans First Program coordinator, said that he, “has been asking General Mattis to come to Las Positas to meet with the LPC student veterans for a couple of years. He finally had the time and agreed.” The meeting was held via Zoom.
Twenty-seven LPC student veterans including President Foster, Dean Ward, Vice President Whalen and Vice President Raichbart as well as the Veterans staff of Contra Costa College and the Contra Costa County Veterans office came to observe Mattis’ talk.
The meeting opened with all of the participants introducing themselves. Mattis talked about the oath that all military people take and what it means. He talked about the differences between military personnel and civilians, emphasizing how the military fights for civilians.
During a question and answer session, Mattis fielded questions from student veterans.
Two questions that were brought up were about technology and the military. Mattis discussed two facets of technology in military use.
One factor is that previously the technology was developed for the military and then adapted for civilian use. GPS was an example of this where the system was developed for the military but soon adapted by the civilian community. Now, most cell phones have GPS built in.
Nowadays, most technology is developed by the civilian world and then adapted by the military. One example is the use of Google maps to track enemy positions.
Mattis said more STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) graduates are needed to help develop this technology.
Mattis mentioned that 85% of all combat casualties since 1945 have been in infantry. The infantry has been slow to use technology but is now developing more technical systems and weapons.
A question was asked about the use of social media in the spread of false information. Mattis acknowledged it is a large issue in that false information is spread very rapidly with the use of social media. Before the Internet and social media, it was easier to stop false information as the spread was much slower, he said. Now the speed is so fast one cannot control the spread of false information.
The last subject raised was about bringing the country together again. Mattis said that it is a problem in the country that is now divided and needs to be unified again.
Mattis left the meeting, saying he is proud to be an American and that the military and veterans should be proud that they have served their country.
The Veteran’s First Program and the Student Veterans Organization then presented an LPC Challenge coin to General Mattis, emphasizing how thankful they were that they could attend the meeting with a past Secretary of Defense and a high level Marine Corps General.
Alan Lewis is the photo editor of The Express. Follow him @AlanLew89343503.
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