Pace Warns 2006 Will be 'Bad Year' for U.S. Enemies
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
KUWAIT CITY, Jan. 2, 2006 The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told servicemembers here that 2006 will be "a bad year for the enemies of the United States."
"I promise you that I won't forget who is doing the work when I make my recommendations" to the president and the National Security Council, Marine Gen. Peter Pace said at an air base near here as part of a United Service Organizations tour he is leading.
Pace, accompanied by his senior enlisted advisor Army Command Sgt. Maj. William J. Gainey, hosted the trip to thank servicemembers for their efforts in the war on terrorism. He visited Qatar, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait and Djibouti during the trip.
American Idol runner-up Diana DeGarmo, comedian Reggie McFadden, and singer-songwriter Michael Peterson provided entertainment, while retired Army Col. Jack Jacobs, who received the Medal of Honor for heroism in Vietnam, provided some advice leavened by humor.
The sergeant major told the mostly Air Force audience that he was proud to be on their team. Many of the airmen in the audience are supporting the U.S. Army in Iraq. The airmen drive convoys into Iraq and have driven more than 700,000 miles in the past two months.
Gainey called a young airman to the stage to present a coin. Since Gainey's job is new, the airman received one of the first coins, the sergeant major has given out. Gainey thanked the man and told the crowd the two of them had a lot in common. "We both really love what we're doing," he said.
Pace spoke of the commitment that servicemembers demonstrate every day. He told servicemembers throughout the region to take time to think about all they have accomplished. "And it's not just in support of the global war on terror," he said. "You have been superb in everything you have been asked to do, whether it is tsunami relief in the Pacific, hurricane relief back home, or earthquake relief in Pakistan."
Pace told the servicemembers that Americans support them. "I can't tell you how many letters and e-mails I receive asking me to tell you how proud they are of you," he said. "The number of acts of generosity across our country is amazing."
The USO show the chairman hosted is an example of that generosity. The entertainers donated their talents and time. Countless others donate money to transport the entertainers. Still others donate to open and maintain the 125 USO centers around the world. The organization is readying to open another center in Kuwait in February, and the non-profit has also financed more than 1 million phone calls.
Pace said he first saw a USO show in Thailand 33 years ago. Bob Hope led that show. "Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be leading a USO show," he said.