Pace Receives Award for Distinguished Service
By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 13, 2005 U.S. servicemembers are doing their jobs credibly and honorably and are the reason America has the greatest military in the world, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said upon receiving an award here Dec. 12.
Marine Gen. Peter Pace received the 23rd Annual Henry M. Jackson Distinguished Service Award for service throughout his career from the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs.
In presenting the award, Stephen Bryen, president of Finmeccania, an aerospace firm and JINSA's major corporate sponsor, said that Pace's job is a hard one that requires clarity, acuity and decisiveness, and that Pace's service is not unrecognized.
"Taking the burden is not easy, but such leadership is readily recognized by the men and women of our armed forces, who are justly proud of Gen. Pace," Bryen said. "From beginning to end, his career in the Marines has been exemplary and magnificent."
Accepting the award, Pace said that early in his career he promised himself never to accept an award he hadn't earned. But he learned over time, he said, that the military is a team, and no matter what his accomplishments have been, they always add up to much more when coupled with the exceptional service of every U.S. servicemember.
"There are 2.4 million Americans -- active, Guard and Reserve -- who serve this nation tonight," Pace said. "They have earned this award, and it is my great honor on their behalf to accept it for them."
The U.S. has the greatest military the world has ever seen, Pace said, and that is primarily because of the quality of people in the military. "Our troops are simply incredible," he said. "I don't know where we find men and women like this, but it gives my mornings and my afternoons focus and purpose."
Hearing about the sacrifices of servicemembers such as the six honored earlier in the evening gives him the motivation to do everything he can to ensure they are properly supported and led, Pace said. Those servicemembers received the Grateful Nation Award, which JINSA established three years ago to express appreciation for the men and women of the armed forces. They represented each service branch, including the Coast Guard, and the U.S. Special Operations Command.
Proof that troops are currently getting the support and leadership they need is in re-enlistment statistics. "The folks in Afghanistan and Iraq are re-enlisting in greater numbers than any other part of the armed forces," he said. "And our armed forces are re-enlisting in greater numbers than historically we have needed to sustain the force."
Those who stay in the military are doing so because they understand and believe in the mission, Pace said.
He asked the audience for help in making Americans see the true value of service to the nation, whether it be in uniform or not. "If all of our youth were led to believe and understand the great honor that it is to serve for a part of your life a country that has given you all you have, it would be a wonderful gift that we would give to them," he said.
The U.S. military could not enjoy such success without the help of partners in industry and coalition partners, many of whom were represented at the dinner, Pace said. He thanked them for their service and all they've done for America.
"As good as we are, there is no nation in the world that is so big or so powerful that it can do anything all on its own," he said. "And in this long, cruel war on terrorism, we all need as many friends as we can find."
The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs is a non-profit, non-partisan and non-sectarian educational organization committed to explaining the need for a prudent national security policy for the U.S., addressing the security requirements of both the U.S. and Israel, and strengthening the strategic cooperation relationship between the two countries.