Retired Marine Gen. Jim Mattis was never given the nickname “the warrior hunk,” but a years-old photo making the rounds online could warrant a two-letter alteration to the moniker that once denoted his devotion to war history.
Mattis’ response to the “warrior monk” moniker — “the only monastery he’d enjoy is one supplied with ‘beer and ladies,’” New Yorker writer Dexter Filkins noted in 2017 — may not bode well for the adoption of a new rendition, but with a dash of semper gumby, anything is possible.
The rarely seen photo of the general — part of a photoshoot for a clothing line started by Australian Special Air Service Regiment veteran Mark Wales — features the widely-respected Marine modeling a black kangaroo leather jacket produced by Wales’ company, Kill Kapture.
“I did this one to help a vet in his business start up,” Mattis told Military Times. “Nothing more to it.”
“Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to rock every outfit.”
The Mattis-Wales introduction was made years ago when a classmate of Wales at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School invited the revered Marine general to talk to the school’s veteran’s group, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation first reported.
Mattis was recently retired and still years away from being named secretary of defense by President Donald Trump.
“He came out to a morning tea when I was at business college,” Wales told ABC.
“He told us the best thing we could do for the security of the country was to go out and start good businesses to make the economy stronger.”
In 2015, Wales contacted Mattis in the off chance that he would say “yes” to participating in a photo shoot Kill Kapture was hosting in New York City.
“‘You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.’ - Wayne Gretzky” - Michael Scott.
To Wales’ surprise, Mattis accepted, even snapping a few photos while sharing beers and stories with the all-veteran cast of models, according to Business Insider.
When the SAS veteran asked if he could use a photo of the general for a company ad, Mattis replied, “Yeah, you can use it for whatever you want. You can put in on a billboard in Russia if you want.”
“I think he took a risk in getting that photo and helping us out, so I’ve always appreciated that,” Wales told Insider.
In an email to Military Times, Wales said he was impressed Mattis accepted the invitation despite having no formal relationship with the company, adding that the retired general is “a top guy and a great supporter for all veteran businesses” who embodies the fashion company’s mission.
“We are trying to make sure veterans are catered for in fashion and apparel, hence why we came up with the Tough Luxury motto, we think it sums it up well,” Wales told Military Times. “We value mission and team before the individual pursuit.”
The “Pathfinder” jacket, which runs for a little over $1,300, is billed as being “ten times the strength of normal leather, at half the weight,” according to Wales’ company website. It takes approximately 10 to 12 weeks to make by hand, comes equipped with a tracking beacon that can sync with the wearer’s mobile phone, and features a brass logo handmade by a Brooklyn jeweler.
A portion of the sales from each jacket are donated to the Semper Fi Fund, Wales told Military Times.
Jon Simkins is a writer and editor for Military Times, and a USMC veteran.