2007 – JINSA Bestows Distinguished Service Award Upon Defense Secretary Gates

JINSA’s 25th annual Henry M. “Scoop” Jackson Distinguished Service Award was conferred upon Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates on October 15, 2007. Mr. Robert J. Stevens, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Lockheed Martin, the evening’s major corporate sponsor, presented the award to Secretary Gates.

JINSA’s 25th annual Henry M. “Scoop” Jackson Distinguished Service Award was conferred upon Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates on October 15, 2007. Mr. Robert J. Stevens, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Lockheed Martin, the evening’s major corporate sponsor, presented the award to Secretary Gates.

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.

Dr. Robert M. Gates was sworn in on December 18, 2006, as the 22nd Secretary of Defense. Before entering his present post, Secretary Gates was the President of Texas A&M University, the nation’s seventh largest university. From 1991 until 1993, Secretary Gates served as Director of Central Intelligence. He is the only career officer in the CIA’s history to rise from entry-level employee to Director. He served as Deputy Director of Central Intelligence from 1986 until 1989 and as Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Adviser at the White House from January 20, 1989, until November 6, 1991, for President George H.W. Bush. Secretary Gates joined the Central Intelligence Agency in 1966 and spent nearly 27 years as an intelligence professional, serving six presidents. During that period, he spent nearly nine years at the National Security Council, The White House, serving four presidents of both political parties. Click here to read a letter from George W. Bush to Robert Gates congratulating him on receiving JINSA Jackson Award.

In accepting the Henry M. Jackson Distinguished Service Award, Dr. Gates said “For more than three decades, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs has been a strong supporter and defender of America’s military might – and of America’s long-standing friendship with Israel. I thank you all for your contribution to the debate over our nation’s foreign policy. ” The audience that filled the large ballroom to capacity 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.

Discussing Iran, Secretary Gates noted that the regime in Tehran “seems increasingly willing to act contrary to its own national interests. With a government of this nature, only a united front of nations will be able to exert enough pressure to make Iran abandon its nuclear aspirations – a source of anxiety and instability in the region. Our allies must work together on robust, far-reaching, and strongly enforced economic sanctions. We must exert pressure in the diplomatic and political arenas as well. And, as the President has said, with this regime, we must also keep all options on the table.”

Commenting on the situation in Iraq, Secretary Gates noted that “… members of both [the Republican and Democratic] parties are realizing the full extent of the challenges we face – how dangerous a failed state in Iraq and an ascendant al Qaeda would be, not just in the short-term, but for decades to come. And, despite the sometimes acrimonious debate, I believe that members of both parties are slowly coming to the same conclusions about our future course in Iraq – even if they disagree on dates and details.”

For the full transcript of Secretary Gates’ remarks, please click HERE.

Following a presentation of colors by the Color Guard of the Military District of Washington, Mr. Jonathan Kislak, Past National Chairman of JINSA, opened the dinner.

Also that evening the Chairman of JINSA’s Board of Advisors, Mr. David Steinmann, introduced six young U.S. service members, the 2007 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 five 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.

General James E. Cartwright, USMC, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, gave a brief speech to the audience at the opening of the evening where he thanked JINSA for creating the Grateful Nation Award and implored the crowd to remember that the amazing young men and women honored over the past five years with the Grateful Nation Award represent the tens of thousands of young Americans abroad carrying the fight to the enemy. Gen. Cartwright then remained on stage to congratulate each of the evening’s recipients of the 2007 Grateful Nation Award.

The 2007 Grateful Nation recipients are:

Staff Sergeant Jason T. Fetty, USA

Staff Sergeant Jose Romero, USMC

Lieutenant (SEAL) Seth A. Stone, USN

Petty Officer Second Class Jesse K. Gitchel, USCG

Staff Sergeant Elizabeth C. Spradley, USAF

Staff Sergeant Ryan A. Wallace, 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: 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.), and; JINSA Board Member Ms. Marilyn Stern.

Before introducing Lockheed Martin Chairman, President and CEO Robert J. Stevens, JINSA’s National Chairman, Mr. Mark Broxmeyer, read the audience a letter of congratulations from President George W. Bush.


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