0956 GMT March 31, 2020
On Thursday, US President-elect Donald Trump announced that Mattis, known as “Mad Dog” and the “Warrior Monk,” will serve as his secretary of defense. The retired four-star general had been involved in several key military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Retired Lieutenant Colonel Jason Amerine was in charge of US Special Forces aiding future Afghan president Hamid Karzai in fighting a guerrilla war against the Taliban when his troops were hit by a US smart bomb on December 5, 2001 outside of Kandahar.
Amerine said on Friday a delay by Mattis in sending medical evacuation flights from a nearby base might have led to the deaths of Staff Sgt. Brian Cody Prosser and at least two Afghan fighters.
“He was indecisive and betrayed his duty to us, leaving my men to die during the golden hour when he could have reached us,” Amerine said in a Facebook post.
Sources told NBC News that Mattis, who was 45 minutes away at Camp Rhino, rejected Amerine’s repeated requests to send rescue helicopters.
Amerine, who is a future of war fellow at the New America think tank in Washington, DC, was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart for showing bravery in the Afghan invasion.
In November 2001, Mattis led Marines that carried out a raid in helicopters on Afghanistan’s Kandahar province, giving the US military a new foothold against Taliban militants after the October 2001 American-led invasion of the country.
In 2003, Mattis commanded a division of Marines during the Iraq war, and in 2004 he led Marines in bloody street fighting in the city of Fallujah.
Mattis served as the commander of the US military’s Central Command (CENTCOM) from August 2010 to March 2013.
But President Barack Obama purportedly decided to remove Mattis -- about five months earlier than expected -- from his National Security Council over his confrontational military strategy with regard to Iran.