Defense Secretary Jim Mattis released his farewell letter to the troops and Department of Defense employees on Monday, affirming his support of their duties and confidence in their work.
Mattis will officially turn over his authorities to Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan at 11:59 Monday evening. Shanahan will serve as acting secretary until a replacement is named, department officials said Friday.
In his farewell, Mattis quoted a telegram from President Abraham Lincoln to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant.
The entire content of the Mattis's memorandum to all Department of Defense employees is here:
MEMORANDUM FOR ALL DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE EMPLOYEES
SUBJECT: Farewell Message
On February 1, 1865, President Lincoln sent to General Ulysses S. Grant a one sentence telegram. It read: "Let nothing which is transpiring, change, hinder, or delay your military movements, or plans."
Our Department's leadership, civilian and military, remains in the best possible hands. I am confident that each of you remains undistracted from our sworn mission to support and defend the Constitution while protecting our way of life. Our Department is proven to be at its best when the times are most difficult. So keep the faith in our country and hold fast, alongside our allies, aligned against our foes.
It has been my high honor to serve at your side. May God hold you safe in the air, on land, and at sea.
James N. Mattis