In June, the Washington Post accidentally published a photo that clearly showed Defense Secretary James Mattis’ cell phone number, prompting the site to quickly pull the picture down… but not before Mercer Island High School student Teddy Fischer managed to save it.

The sophomore hoped he’d manage to get the legendary Marine on the line for an interview he could submit to his school paper – so he called it and left a message.  To his surprise, he received a call back just a few days later: James Mattis had agreed to the interview.

“I’ve always tried to help students because I think we owe it to you young folks to pass on what we learned going down the road so that you can make your own mistakes, not the same ones we made,” Mattis said to Fischer and his school paper colleague, Jane Gormley.

The Secretary of Defense, and former college professor, proceeded to conduct a lengthy forty-five minute interview with the students, in which he reportedly treated the student journalists with the same regard, and respect, he provides professionals in the industry.