PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) --From former neighbors to people in the military, those who know Philadelphia native H.R. McMaster say he is a man of integrity, highly respected, and not afraid to challenge the powers that be when he thinks they are wrong.
On Monday, President Donald Trump tapped Army Lt. Gen. McMaster as his new national security adviser, replacing the ousted Michael Flynn.
Col. Church, who has known Herbert Raymond 'H.R.' McMaster for years, is now president of the Valley Forge Military Academy.
"It's an awesome responsibility and he knows that. He'll attack that challenge like he's attacked everything else in his career," Col. John Church said.
It was at the Military Academy where McMaster graduated with honors as Cadet Captain, Company A, Class of 1980.
"And because he's a graduate, obviously, I was pulling for him, too. So personally because I've known him and got a chance to meet him and work with him on some issues," Church said.
McMaster is a decorated combat veteran. During the Gulf War in 1991, he led nine M1 Abrams tanks through an Iraqi brigade destroying over 80 Republican Guard tanks and vehicles without any losses.
Back in 1997, McMaster would write a book on the Vietnam War called 'Dereliction of Duty.'
As a young captain working at the Pentagon, Church was assigned to read the book interview McMaster and make a report.
"I will tell you, many people will tell you, that there are folks in the army and other folks that were critical of his writing because he basically took a stance that the military made some mistakes in Vietnam," Church said.
A noted intellectual who once headed a unit dedicated to anticipating future military challenges, McMaster is a protege of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.
He grew up in the 400 block of Flamingo in the Roxborough and was fondly remembered by a former neighbor Monday night.
"The man has tons of integrity, tons of character, he's just a good person and I think he truly has the best interests of our country," former neighbor Cathy Kelley said.
To sum it up, Col. Church notes that McMaster is the kind of guy who's not afraid to tell it like it is.
"He's a quality guy. He calls it like he sees it and that's a great quality to have, he'll speak truth to power," Church said.
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