JINSA Bestows Distinguished Service Award Upon Joint Chiefs Chairman General Peter Pace, USMC

JINSA’s 23rd annual Henry M. “Scoop” Jackson Distinguished Service Award was conferred upon General Peter Pace, USMC, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on December 12, 2005. Dr. Stephen Bryen, President of Finmeccanica Inc., a Washington, D.C.-based aerospace firm and the evening’s major corporate sponsor, presented the award.

JINSA’s 23rd annual Henry M. “Scoop” Jackson Distinguished Service Award was conferred upon General Peter Pace, USMC, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on December 12, 2005. Dr. Stephen Bryen, President of Finmeccanica Inc., a Washington, D.C.-based aerospace firm and the evening’s major corporate sponsor, presented the award.

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.

Gen. Pace, the sixteenth chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is the senior ranking member of the Armed Forces and serves as the principal military advisor to the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the National Security Council.

“Tonight we are here to Honor General Peter Pace, the first Marine to serve as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He was selected by the President for the job because of his leadership and his understanding of the challenges we are facing today, particularly in Afghanistan and Iraq where our forces are fighting for democracy and freedom and doing their best to defeat the terrorists who pose a global threat,” Bryen said. He noted that Gen. Pace’s job as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is a hard one that requires clarity, acuity and decisiveness, and that the general’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.

In accepting the Distinguished Service Award, Pace told the crowd of more than 600 that included a strong turnout from the Pentagon, Capitol Hill and the diplomatic community, 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. service member. “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 … Our troops are simply incredible. I don’t know where we find men and women like this, but it gives my mornings and my afternoons focus and purpose” he added. For the full transcript of Gen. Pace’s remarks, please click HERE.

Also that evening, six young U.S. service members, the 2005 recipients of JINSA’s Grateful Nation Award, were introduced to the audience. They were honored for their exceptional superior service since President Bush’s declaration of the War on Terrorism. JINSA President Norman Hascoe and Gen. Pace stood with each honoree before the audience as the honoree’s award citation was recited. Hascoe noted that the Grateful Nation Award recipients were each nominated by their commanding officers and chosen by the senior leadership of their respective services. All the recipients distinguished themselves by exceptional service and an outstanding demonstration of the values of their service branches, he said. The six had received their awards at JINSA’s annual event in Houston, Texas in May. For a full account of the 2005 Houston event, please click HERE.

Introduced three 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 we needed to do something tangible to express our profound appreciation to the men and women of our armed services,” Hascoe commented.

The 2005 Grateful Nation recipients are:

  • Sergeant First Class Paul R. Smith, USA (posthumously)
  • Staff Sergeant Mark H. Graunke, Jr., USMC
  • Lieutenant (SEAL) Walter H. Allman III, USN
  • Petty Officer Third Class Aaron Dwoskin, USCG
  • Senior Airman Joshua Beach, USAF
  • Petty Officer Second Class (SEAL) Christopher Kyle, USSOCOM

Sgt. Smith’s widow, Birgit Smith, accepted the award on his behalf and offered her message of support for the troops and their families. “I want the world to know that we, the families, and fellow Americans, continue to support them in their courageous efforts to bring about democracy to people that have suffered under choking tyranny,” she said. For the full text of Mrs. Smith’s remarks, click HERE.

In 2004, Gen. Pace, then the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, presented the Grateful Nation Award. That evening saw JINSA’s Distinguished Service Award go to Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN).

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 volunteers 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.)
  • Ms. Marilyn Stern

Following the Grateful Nation Award presentation, Pace said that those who stay in the military are doing so because they understand and believe in the mission. “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 dinner opened with a presentation of colors by the Military District of Washington followed by a welcome by David Steinmann, Chairman of JINSA’s Board of Advisors, who said our service members “are the very best people our country produces and, in addition to shouldering the burdens and responsibilities which come with the uniforms they wear, they must also shoulder the additional, unsought, even unwanted, burden of being our heroes.” He added that they “serve our country selflessly every day and tonight we get to say thank you to them, and through them to every one of their comrades in arms for protecting and nurturing our American dream.”

JINSA’s Chairman, Mark Broxmeyer, who opened the second half of JINSA’s annual dinner, said that “the continued absence of terrorist attacks in our country since September 11 is owed to a combination of good intelligence and threat recognition, more skill in prevention, and more than a little bit of Providence. It is owed to the men and women who continually volunteer to put their lives on the line for us.”

At the end of the evening, Tom Neumann, JINSA’s Executive Director, told Gen. Pace, “You have our commitment and our word that we will help because that’s what we do all day, all the time, 24/7. That is what JINSA is about: freedom in America and the preservation of that freedom.”