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4th Annual Salute to Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans

  • Marines' Memorial Club & Hotel 609 Sutter St San Francisco, CA, 94102 United States (map)

6:30 pm Registration | 7:00 pm Commemoration Program

Please plan on joining us for our 4th Annual Salute to Iraq and Afghanistan War Veterans. 
The event will start with a commemoration program at 7:00 pm. 

We are fortunate to have General James N. Mattis, USMC (Ret.), former Commander of the US Central Command back as our guest speaker this year. The Central Command is one of 10 Unified Commands. Five of these commands are combatant commands with geographic boundaries, and the Central Command area stretches from Egypt to Pakistan, including Iraq and Afghanistan and the Nations in between. 

General Mattis is one of our Nation’s most combat experienced General Officers. As an infantry battalion commander, he led his battalion on the attack to seize Kuwait International Airport in Operation Desert Storm. Ten weeks after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, then-Brigadier General Mattis was commanding Task Force 58 when he launched six CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters from the amphibious assault ship Peleliu. His Task Force traveled nearly 400 miles from the North Arabian Sea before touching down in Afghanistan. Task Force 58 combined 8,000 Marines and sailors from the Peleliu and Bataan amphibious ready groups. Within a few days, he had landed his Marines on the dusty airstrip in Kandahar province, breaking the back of the Taliban leadership in Kandahar. The Nov. 25, 2001, mission is considered the deepest insertion of Marines from the sea into a combat zone in our nation’s history.

As a Major General, he commanded the 1st Marine Division, leading his Division from Kuwait in March 2003 to seize Baghdad. His Marines pulled down Saddam Hussein’s statue on 9 April, 2002, and then, on 10 April, raced 150 kilometers north of Baghdad to seize Tikrit. General Mattis popularized the slogan "no better friend, no worse enemy", teaching his Marines:

          “Whenever you show anger or disgust toward civilians, it's a victory for Al Qaeda and other insurgents.” Reflecting an understanding of the need for restraint in war as key to defeating an insurgency, he added that, "Every time you wave at an Iraqi civilian, Al Qaeda rolls over in its grave”

He remained in Iraq until August, and then returned his Division back to Iraq to fight the 1st battle of Fallujah in April 2004. As a lieutenant general, he commanded the Marine Corps Combat Development Command and then the I Marine Expeditionary Force as the commander of US Marine Forces Central Command in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a 4 star general, he served as both NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Transformation from 2007-2009 and as commander, US Joint Forces Command from 2007-2010. 

In the summer of 2010, he was selected to command the U.S. CENTRAL Command. 

After Gen. Mattis' talk, all Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans are invited to join him for a reception.