2006 – JINSA Bestows Distinguished Service Award Upon Senator John McCain

JINSA’s 24th annual Henry M. “Scoop” Jackson Distinguished Service Award was conferred upon Senator John McCain on December 5, 2006. Mr. Mike Ryan, Executive Vice President for Government Business of Rolls-Royce North America Inc., the evening’s major corporate sponsor, presented the award to the senator.

JINSA’s 24th annual Henry M. “Scoop” Jackson Distinguished Service Award was conferred upon Senator John McCain on December 5, 2006. Mr. Mike Ryan, Executive Vice President for Government Business of Rolls-Royce North America Inc., the evening’s major corporate sponsor, presented the award to the senator.

Through the Jackson Award, JINSA recognizes and thanks those leaders whose careers have been distinguished by the principle that is the foundation of JINSA’s work; the belief that the United States requires a strong military capability for both its own security and for that of trustworthy friends and allies.

Senator John S. McCain, III, is currently the Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and also serves on the Senate Committee on Armed Services and the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. After graduating from the Naval Academy in 1958, he began his career as a Naval aviator. From 1967 to 1973, he was held as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. In 1982, he was elected to Congress representing what was then the first congressional district of Arizona. In 1986, he was elected to the United States Senate.

In accepting the Henry M. Jackson Distinguished Service Award, Senator McCain said “I’m grateful to receive an award and have my name associated in any way with a great leader and one of the architects of our victory in the Cold War.” His audience of some 650 included a strong turnout from the Pentagon, Capitol Hill, Administration and the diplomatic community as well as JINSA’s national Board of Directors and members.

Moving to policy, Sen. McCain declared that “Tehran’s continued pursuit of nuclear weapons clearly poses an unacceptable risk. Protected by a nuclear deterrent, Iran would feel unconstrained to sponsor terrorist attacks against any perceived enemy.” The Senator also had strong words for Palestinian leaders who say they desire peace but wage a terror war against Israel and for American leaders who would push Israel to engage with such terrorists. “No American leader should be expected to sell a false peace to our democratic ally, consider Israel’s right to self-defense less legitimate than ours, or insist that Israel negotiate a political settlement while terrorism remains its adversaries’ favored bargaining tool.”

Sen. McCain also discussed the situation in Lebanon and along Israel’s northern border. “Israel’s chance for peace with its northern neighbor resides in a Lebanon whose government has a monopoly on authority within its country. That means no independent militias, no Hezbollah fighters, no weapons and equipment flowing to Hezbollah. It means bolstering the security of Lebanon’s borders and ensuring that Hezbollah is not deployed in the south.” Summing it up, the senator declared, “There is one bottom line: to achieve peace, sooner or later, Hezbollah must be disarmed.”

For the full transcript of Sen. McCain’s remarks, please click HERE.

Following a presentation of colors by the Color Guard of the Military District of Washington, Mr. Norman Hascoe, President of JINSA, opened the dinner by recalling the words of Thomas Paine: “Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must undergo the fatigue of supporting it.” Then, to the large number of service members in the audience, Mr. Hascoe said, “Bless you, for making our freedom possible.” He next introduced Senator Joseph Lieberman, describing him as leader who has been able to “wed the American spirit and the American conscience.”

Senator Joseph Lieberman, who received the Henry M. Jackson Distinguished Service Award in 1997, paid eloquent tribute to his good friend, Sen. McCain, that evening. He also lauded JINSA when he remarked that the organization “created a crucial forum that exists nowhere else that keeps our nation and its leaders focused on the threats, challenges and opportunities that we face from a combination of sworn enemies, emerging rivals and evolving alliances.”

Also that evening JINSA Board of Advisors member Adm. Leon Edney, USN (ret.) introduced six young U.S. service members, the 2006 recipients of JINSA’s Grateful Nation Award. They were honored for their exceptional service in the War on Terror. He noted that the Grateful Nation Award recipients were each nominated by their commanding officers and chosen by the senior leadership of their respective services.

Introduced four years ago, JINSA’s Grateful Nation Award was created to recognize the courage and dedication of enlisted, noncommissioned officers and junior officers fighting on the front lines of freedom. As an organization representing 20,000 members all over our country, JINSA decided that it needed to do something tangible to express the organization’s profound appreciation to the men and women of our armed services.

The 2006 Grateful Nation recipients are:

Staff Sergeant Christopher Choay, USA

Sergeant Jason A. Gagliano, USMC

Petty Officer Second Class Jacob A. Phillips, USN

Petty Officer Third Class Troy E. Meyer, USCG

Senior Airman Charity Trueblood, USAF

Technical Sergeant Aaron F. May, USAF (representing USSOCOM)

The Grateful Nation Awards would not be possible without the dedication of the Award Liaison Committee comprised of retired officers serving on JINSA’s Board of Advisors. JINSA Board of Directors member Ms. Marilyn Stern volunteered many long hours acting as a liaison to the award recipients and their families.

The members of the Grateful Nation Award Liaison Committee are:

Lt. Gen. Anthony Burshnick, USAF (ret.)

Adm. Leon Edney, USN (ret.)

Lt. Gen. Charles May, USAF (ret.)

Lt. Gen. Fred McCorkle, USMC (ret.)

R. Adm. Norman Saunders, USCG (ret.)

Maj. Gen. Sidney Shachnow, USA (ret.)

JINSA Board Member Ms. Marilyn Stern.

JINSA’s Chairman, Mark Broxmeyer, who opened the second half of JINSA’s annual dinner, noted that in addition to celebrating Senator McCain, the evening was also about young American heroes – “those who are with us in this room tonight and those who are around the globe keeping us safe.”

In closing the evening, Tom Neumann, JINSA’s Executive Director, reminded the audience that they had “heard from a Senator who understands that national security is above and beyond partisan impulses.” He then noted that while the news media have tried to make us forget how wonderful America is, “tonight, we see among us soldiers who sacrificed for America out of patriotism and an understanding that they were serving a higher purpose … We are proud to be here tonight. We are proud to be Americans.”