Pace Vows to Remember Impact of Advice on Servicemembers
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sep. 30, 2005 Marine Gen. Peter Pace vowed today that as he gives his best military advice to the president and other members of the National Security Council, he "will remember not only the mission, but the impact it will have on the lance corporals and the airmen and the lieutenants junior grade and the captains."
Pace became the first Marine to serve as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during an Armed Forces "hail ceremony" here today. He succeeds Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, who swore him into office.
"We have a lot of work to do," Pace said. "This moment in history is one where we have an enemy whose stated public intent is to destroy our way of life; 2.4 million American men and women in uniform say, 'Not on our watch.'"
Addressing the servicemembers attending and participating in the ceremonies, Pace called upon them to continue the work done by those who went before them. "Generations and generations of American fighting servicemen and women have sacrificed and died that we might have the freedoms we enjoy today," he said. "And it is now our moment in history -- you and I in uniform -- to protect those freedoms for our children and our grandchildren -- and protect them, we will."
Pace thanked President Bush for his confidence in him and for the president's steadfast leadership and unwavering support for men and women in uniform. "Every single one of us in uniform knows that you are leading us and know that you are supporting us at the same time, and it makes a huge difference to each and every one of us," Pace said.
The new chairman, who started his Marine career as a platoon leader in Vietnam at the Battle of Hue City, thanked the ceremonial troops who represent the 2.4 million members of the military. "It's a hundred degrees in Baghdad right now," he said. "We've got troops wearing flak jackets and helmets. It's 90 degrees in Kabul. They're doing the same thing there. Your performance on this parade deck and their performance protecting us overseas is, quite simply, awesome."
Bush said that he has come to know Pace well during the general's service as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. "I appreciate his wisdom and commitment to serve, and I look forward to having Pete by my side in the years ahead," Bush said.
The president called Pace a brilliant thinker and an inspiring leader. "His life is the story of the American dream," Bush said. "From his early years in Brooklyn and New Jersey, to his days as a midshipman in Annapolis, to his decades of service in Vietnam and Thailand and South Korea and Somalia and elsewhere -- in every place he has been, Pete Pace has impressed those around him with his bravery, his knowledge and his devotion to duty."
The president said he knows Pace will build on the vital work set into motion under Myers.
Before he swore in Pace as the new chairman, Myers said he has been honored to serve alongside Pace.
Myers spoke of how George Washington was chosen as the commander of the Continental Army in 1775. The Continental Congress chose him "because they knew him; they trusted him; they knew his courage; they knew his integrity."
"Today, when our nation's ideals are once again at stake, it's appropriate to once again chose a military leader for the same reasons," Myers said.
"In my opinion, there's no finer officer in uniform anywhere in the world," he continued. "The president nominated him and the Senate confirmed him as chairman because they knew him, they trusted him, they knew his courage, and they knew his integrity."