CWU grad recently appointed to head U.S. Central Command - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

CWU grad recently appointed to head U.S. Central Command

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ELLENSBURG, Wash -- Central Washington University graduate U.S. Marine Corps Gen. James N. Mattis ('71) was recently appointed to the new head of U.S. Central Command in the Middle East.

Mattis was chosen by Defense Secretary Robert Gates to replace Army Gen. David Petraeus.

"This is very exciting news," said CWU President James L. Gaudino, a veteran and a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy. "He's been given an enormous assignment and I couldn't be prouder that his responsibility will be on the shoulders of a Central grad."

In 2003, Mattis was picked to lead Marine forces during the Battle of Fallujah, which was, at that time, the largest sustained U.S. military engagement in 30 years. During his 39-year career, he has commanded at multiple levels, most recently heading the U.S. Joint Forces Command.

"Between my life experiences, the education I received here at Central and my experiences in the Marines, I was well prepared for the challenges that I face today," Mattis said during a 2007 speaking engagement on CWU's Ellensburg campus.

***NOTE*** Photo is of Mattis when he visited the CWU campus in 2007. A three-star general at that time, Mattis was promoted to a four-star general later that year.