I served with HR McMaster in 2/2 ACR in the first gulf war. He was the E Troop commander; I was a F Troop platoon leader. For your readers who may not know him very well, I would like them to know that this long time Instapundit reader thinks this might be President Trump’s best appointment yet.

HR is is highly intelligent, courageous, and one of the best human beings I have ever known. His integrity, wide-ranging knowledge, and willingness to take the fight to the enemy will dove-tail perfectly with GEN Mattis, IMHO.

Our old, famed unit, the 2d Cavalry (known as the Ghosts of Patton’s Army in WWII), has produced several USA leaders recently, including Mike Powell (Colin Powell’s son and ex-FCC chairman), Doug Lute, US Rep to NATO, and Mike Pompeo, current CIA Director. All were Lieutenants, Captains or Majors in 2CAV in the late 80s and early 90s.

Plus, from another reader:

With President Trump selecting LTG HR McMaster to be the next National Security Advisor, we will no doubt be hearing a lot about the Battle of 73 Easting in the Gulf War. Captain McMaster was in the middle of what may be “the last great tank battle” when his Troop and one other destroyed a brigade of Iraqi tanks. History channel featured it in their series “Greatest Tank Battles” and it is a must watch; I imagine they will replay it soon because of this appointment.

I wanted to add a couple thoughts as I served under him and while I didn’t interact much with him personally, it was clear that McMaster may be the smartest man I have ever met – I went to an “elite” northeast academy and an Ivy – and nobody I know can hold a candle to his ability to learn every side and nuance of almost every conflict around the globe. While at Fort Benning, I was selected by my commander to head up the International Military Student Office where roughly 1000 foreign officers and non-commissioned officers from nearly 100 allied nations attend US Army courses. McMaster was the commanding general at the time of the Maneuver Center of Excellence (combined Infantry and Armor schools) and since it was a somewhat sensitive posting, I had to meet him personally. He was very knowledgeable of what my job would entail and made sure I understood, but he also knew about my entire career up to that point; this is impressive as he had hundreds of captains under him, but not exactly rare as it is a common characteristic of leaders effective enough to make flag rank.

What impressed me the most about him was his interaction with the international students. One of the courses that the international students attended was the captains’ career course and I had 7 cycles of 25-30 students in each ranging in rank from Lieutenant to Lieutenant Colonel. At the end of each class, MG McMaster would have a lunch with them where he would open the floor to any and all questions. These students came from every part of the world, and McMaster was able to answer nearly every question with stunning detail and understanding of the entire geopolitical ramifications behind each situation. In fact, only once did I every hear him say “I am not entirely familiar with that situation…” if I remember correctly, it revolved around a (relatively) new narcotics conflict in Suriname, but he then still answered the question by being able to draw upon knowledge he had in narcotics trafficking conflicts in other parts of South America, and the overall political climate in Suriname. The most challenging questions came from the Pakistanis of the class and while they sometimes became heated, he would approach the student after and speak personally to ensure that while they may not like what he said, they understood that he felt he had to answer them honestly – there was never hard feelings and always mutual respect from both him and the student. Every single student I spoke to afterward was blown away by how McMaster addressed their question and appreciated how much he understood about the problems in their home countries.

These Q&A sessions were scheduled for an hour and almost always went much longer as he was willing and eager to interact with those students whom he told would be “the future leaders of our allies” Imagine being a Lieutenant from a small nation being given this kid of respect and deference by a 2-star general of the US Army! These lunches were not mandatory but he did them anyway because the foreign students sent to study in the US are those officers whose nations predict will be their future senior leaders, quite possibly even some heads of state; McMaster understood to his core that the impressions he made then would affect US foreign relations 10, 20, 30 years into the future.

McMaster is a speed reader and I believe he also has a photographic memory. He was able to have an expansive grasp of the political ramifications on almost every live conflict in the world and it wasn’t even his job at the time to know them – his job was to train Infantry and Armor officers, but he knew that adding this aspect to his own education and the educations of those studying under him would make them better. This man is a perfect fit for the job of NSA and hopefully he will not meet the same resistance that so many current appointees encounter.

TJ Buttrick, CPT, US Army (retired)

And I don’t want to share details without permission, but a former student of mine who served with McMaster was saying similar things on Facebook.