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Pace Applauds All-Volunteer Force

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

DJIBOUTI, Aug. 14, 2007 – The all-volunteer force is serving the United States extremely well, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told servicemembers at a Town Hall meeting here today.

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Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff U.S. Marine Gen. Peter Pace conducts a town hall meeting with approximately 1,200 troops in the "Thunder Dome" at Camp Lemonier, Djibouti, Aug. 14, 2007. Defense Dept. photo by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. D. Myles Cullen

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Marine Gen. Peter Pace spoke of the difference between the conscripted force of his youth and the all-volunteer of today.

When Pace first came in to the Marine Corps in 1967, it was a draftee military, and there were many people serving in the military who didn’t want to be there.

Pace said in the conscript military leaders had to spend time motivating people to do the right thing. This is not a problem confronted by commanders with an all-volunteer force, Pace said.

“This is because you have in your heart of hearts the basic knowledge that you volunteered to do this and because you wanted to be there,” Pace told the troops.

“Everybody here either volunteered to serve their initial tour or re-upped while the nation was at war and wanted to do their part,” Pace said. “God bless you for that. That motivation factor allows you to have teamwork and train to heights that you could not if you just fundamentally had people who didn’t want to be there.”

Pace said he thinks that everyone should serve the nation.

“I think it would be good if everyone served the nation in some capacity,” he said. “Through an accident of birth we are American citizens. We grew up in an incredible nation that allows us to be literally anything we want. To pay back the opportunity is a price that is worth the nation considering.”

Pace said he is not talking about military conscription, “but an opportunity for all young folks to pick from a variety of things to give back to the nation that has given them so much.”

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Gen. Peter Pace, USMC

Related Sites:
U.S. Africa Command
Photo Essay: Pace in Djibouti

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