NAVAL STATION GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba (NNS) -- Secretary of Defense James Mattis visited Naval Station Guantanamo Bay (NSGB), Dec. 21, thanking all personnel for their dedication and wishing them a Merry Christmas.
He spoke with more than 800 base residents during three all hands calls at Joint Task Force-Guantanamo Camp Bulkeley Lyceum, NSGB Downtown Lyceum and a Marine Corps Security Forces Company training site.
During Mattis's visit, he spoke of the importance of the base's mission and also answered questions from those in attendance.
Lance Cpl. George Kelley, Marine Corps Fast Company Charlie, 3rd Platoon, talked about what it meant to him to be able to speak with Mattis.
"It was an honor to meet him," said Kelley. "With everything that he has done for the Marine Corps and for the country and to have him tell us to stay ready and to have courage, I think it was awesome that he came down here."
Mattis is the first Secretary of Defense to visit to NSGB since 2002.
During the all hands call at the NSGB Downtown Lyceum, Mattis imparted his wisdom and expressed his feelings about the base to those in attendance, making it a special event for all.
"I feel that it was a great source of motivation," said Hospital Corpsman Nicholas Taha, event attendee. "To have someone at his level express wishing he could stay here for an extended period of time showed that he really cares about what we do here."
Taha also added that the word "shipmate" coming from Mattis made you feel that he truly has our back and is willing to stand with us and support what we do in the military.
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