David A. Bryant

Most days I enjoy scrolling through my Facebook feed, because somewhere buried within the political posts from far left and far right — and everything in between — is usually buried a gem of a meme.

I should probably explain what a “meme” is to those without social media. A meme is a picture with some sort of pithy statement on it, usually either political or humorous.

From day one of retired Gen. James “Mad Dog” Mattis’ nomination for secretary of defense, memes began popping up all over Facebook. Marines praying before a photo of Mattis dressed as a Saint, Mattis in full uniform “knife-handing” to part the waters of the Red Sea.

Monday did not disappoint — the statement on the meme said that Mattis had once killed a man by shooting an azimuth because, well, he’s the most interesting Marine in the world. Anyone who has ever had to go from point A to point B using a compass, a map and a protractor probably spit their drinks out on seeing it.

For those who have never had the pleasure, an azimuth is not a weapon: It’s the horizontal angle or direction of a compass bearing. Shooting a correct azimuth can be a pain, and getting it wrong can potentially place you miles from where you’re trying to go.

Mattis is already reaching a level of iconic culture similar to Chuck Norris.

Some of my favorite Chuck Norris “facts” are that he doesn’t do push-ups, he pushes the world down. Chuck Norris makes fire by rubbing two ice cubes together. Death once had a near-Chuck Norris experience.

Mattis is quickly catching up. Did you know that every time he “knife hands,” a terrorist dies? He has 47 confirmed kills with an e-tool carrier. He was once bitten by a black mamba, and the snake died instantly.

As a young Marine-in-training, my drill instructors informed my fellow recruits and I that we would always remember Lt. Gen. Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller in our prayers and, before lights out, we always said, “Good night, Chesty, wherever you are.”

As much as Mattis may hate his nickname, I have a feeling new Marine recruits are already saying good night to “Mad Dog” before tucking themselves in for the night.

This is a military leader who says things like, “I come in peace. I didn’t bring artillery. But I’m pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: If you (mess) with me, I’ll kill you all.” His actual statements tend to lend credence to the all-new “Mattis facts.”

What can I say, I’m breaking out the popcorn because I can’t wait to see where this goes. Good night, Mad Dog, wherever you are!

David A. Bryant is an Army retiree and the military editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. You can reach him at dbryant@kdhnews.com or 254-501-7554.

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