THE PENTAGON — Marine Commandant Gen. Robert Neller is really hoping that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis will “hurry the hell up” and approve his Memorial Day leave request, sources confirmed today.
Sources say Neller has been observed anxiously pacing the halls of the Pentagon’s E-ring, mumbling to himself as he rehearsed the potentially awkward conversation with Mattis. “Good morning, I mean afternoon, sir. I know you have been busy with North Korea, but maybe if you have a moment this week...” he was overheard babbling. “I sort of have a leave request for this wedding, and it kind of needs your signature. No rush though, no big deal sir.”
The commandant, who is due for a fitness report evaluation soon, told reporters he “doesn’t want to look like that slacker Amos,” since other members of the Joint Staff will be working over the Memorial Day weekend to garner face-time with Mattis.
Officials say Neller purchased non-refundable tickets and hotel reservations for the wedding in East Lansing, Michigan, a move they described as a “boot mistake.” And further exacerbating the situation, Neller's wife has been “nagging the shit out of him,” according to a source that requested anonymity since he is the Secretary of the Navy.
“We have to get there in time for the rehearsal dinner!” she reportedly said to her cringing husband. “We missed my family reunion last year because of that stupid congressional testimony. For god’s sakes just walk in his office and ask him!”
“I already sent him two emails about it,” Neller responded. “Chaos wrote me back and only said ‘roger’….what does that even mean?”
Mattis reportedly tried to approve the request last month, but the Marine Online system has been down since Feb. 2014 for routine maintenance. Neller was then directed to submit a paper copy, officials said.
“What happened was, it was returned to the Commandant’s office after we noticed that it was in Arial font instead of Times New Roman,” a source familiar with the matter said. “I guess it got lost, nobody has seen it in weeks.”
At press time, the Commandant was waiting in the Pentagon’s north parking lot for Gen. Joe Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, to conduct a vehicle inspection and liberty brief before the Neller family could be released for their trip.
Jack McQuack and Cat Astronaut contributed reporting.