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First Name: Peter

Last Name: Pace

Birthplace: Brooklyn, NY, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Date of Birth: 05 November 1945

Rank: General

Years Served: 1967-2007
Peter Pace

Graduate, U.S. Naval Academy, Class of 1967

•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


Peter Pace
General, U.S. Marine Corps

Peter Pace was born on 5 November 1945 in Brooklyn, NY, to Italian-American parents and raised in Teaneck, NJ, graduating from Teaneck High School in 1963. He received a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps in June 1967, following graduation from the U.S. Naval Academy. He also holds a Master of Business Administration degree from George Washington University.

Military Career


Upon completion of The Basic School at Marine Corps Base Quantico, VA, in 1968, Pace was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division in the Republic of Vietnam. He served first as Platoon Leader of Golf Company's Second Platoon and subsequently as Assistant Operations Officer.

Returning to the U.S. in March 1969, he reported to Marine Barracks, Washington, DC. During this tour, he served as Head, Infantry Writer Unit, Marine Corps Institute; Platoon Leader, Guard Company; Security Detachment Commander, Camp David; White House Social Aide; and Platoon Leader, Special Ceremonial Platoon. He was promoted to Captain in April 1971. In September 1971, Pace attended the Army Infantry Officers' Advanced Course at Fort Benning, GA. Returning overseas in October 1972, he was assigned to the Security Element, Marine Aircraft Group 15, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, Namphong, Thailand, where he served as Operations Officer and then Executive Officer.

In October 1973, he was assigned to Headquarters Marine Corps, Washington, for duty as the Assistant Majors' Monitor. During October 1976, he reported to the 1st Marine Division, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, CA, where he served as Operations Officer, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines; Executive Officer, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines; and Division Staff Secretary. He was promoted to Major on 1 November 1977. In August 1979, he reported to the Marine Corps Command and Staff College as a student.


Upon completion of the Command and Staff College in June 1980, he was assigned duty as Commanding Officer, Marine Corps Recruiting Station, Buffalo, NY. While in this assignment, he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in October 1982. Reassigned to the 1st Marine Division, Camp Pendleton, Pace served from June 1983 until June 1985 as Commanding Officer, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines. In June 1985, he was selected to attend the National War College in Washington.

After graduation in June 1986, he was assigned to the Combined/Joint Staff in Seoul, South Korea. He served as Chief, Ground Forces Branch until April 1987, when he became Executive Officer to the Assistant Chief of Staff, C/J/G-3, United Nations Command/Combined Forces Command/U.S. Forces Korea/Eighth U.S. Army. Pace returned to Marine Barracks in Washington in August 1988 for duty as Commanding Officer. He was promoted to Colonel in October 1988.


In August 1991, Pace was assigned duty as Chief of Staff, 2nd Marine Division, Camp Lejeune. During February 1992, he was assigned duty as Assistant Division Commander. Advanced to Brigadier General on 6 April 1992, he was assigned as President of the Marine Corps University and Commanding General of Marine Corps Schools at the Marine Corps Combat Development Command, Quantico, on 13 July 1992. While serving in this capacity, he also served as Deputy Commander, Marine Forces, Somalia, from December 1992 to February 1993, and as the Deputy Commander, Joint Task Force - Somalia from October 1993 to March 1994. Pace was advanced to Major General on 21 June 1994 and assigned as the Deputy Commander/Chief of Staff, U.S. Forces, Japan. He was promoted to Lieutenant General and assigned as the Director for Operations (J-3), Joint Staff, Washington, on 5 August 1996.

Pace served as the Commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Atlantic/Europe/South from 23 November 1997 to 8 September 2000.

2000s; Joint Chiefs of Staff

Pace was promoted to General and became Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Southern Command on 8 September 2000 and served until 30 September 2001, when he was appointed Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. On 12 August 2005, he was succeeded as Vice Chairman by Admiral Edmund P. Giambastiani.

On 22 April 2005, at a White House press conference, President George W. Bush nominated Pace to be the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The previous Chairman, Air Force General Richard Myers, retired from the position on 30 September 2005.

On his nomination, Pace said, "This is an incredible moment for me. It is both exhilarating and humbling. It's exhilarating because I have the opportunity, if confirmed by the Senate, to continue to serve this great nation. It's humbling because I know the challenges ahead are formidable."

On 29 June 2005, General Pace appeared before the Armed Services Committee for consideration of his nomination and was later confirmed by the Senate. On 30 September 2005, he was sworn in as the 16th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

On 29 November 2005, General Pace was present at a press conference given by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, where Rumsfeld said that "the United States does not have a responsibility" to prevent torture by Iraqi officials. Pace drew a distinction between the national responsibility of the U.S. and the responsibility of individual service members, saying "It is the absolute responsibility of every U.S. service member, if they see inhumane treatment being conducted, to intervene, to stop it."

After White House officials asserted that Iran was supplying insurgents in Iraq with munitions, Pace questioned the validity of the claim in a February 2007 press conference. Specifically, he questioned the existence of direct evidence linking the Iranian Government to the supply of the weapons, explosively-formed penetrators.

Military Retirement

On one of the last days before retirement, Pace gave a speech at Chaminade High School on Long Island, the high school of the first Marine who died under his command.

On 8 June 2007, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced that he would advise the President not to re-nominate General Pace because of concerns about contentious confirmation hearings in the Congress. The President nominated the former Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Michael Mullen to replace Pace.

On 1 October 2007, General Pace officially retired from the Marine Corps at Fort Myer, VA.

After his retirement ceremony, Pace left to visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington. There, he left several handwritten notes dated for that day, with a set of his four-star General insignia attached to each one. Each note was similar to this one:

"For Guido Farinaro USMC These are yours - not mine! With love and respect, your platoon leader, Pete Pace."

Medals and Awards

Defense Distinguished Service Medal w/ 3 Oak Leaf Clusters
Navy Distinguished Service Medal
Army Distinguished Service Medal
Air Force Distinguished Service Medal
Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal
Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star Medal w/ Valor Device
Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal w/ 1 Award Star
Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal w/ Valor Device
Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal w/ 1 Award Star
Combat Action Ribbon
Navy Presidential Unit Citation w/ 1 Service Star
Joint Meritorious Unit Award w/ 3 Oak Leaf Clusters
Navy Unit Commendation w/ 1 Service Star
Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation w/ 3 Service Stars
National Defense Service Medal w/ 2 Service Stars
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal w/ 2 Service Stars
Vietnam Service Medal w/ 6 Service Stars
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Korea Defense Service Medal
Humanitarian Service Medal
Sea Service Deployment Ribbon w/ 2 Service Stars
Overseas Service Ribbon w/ 3 Service Stars
Marine Corps Recruiting Ribbon
Order of National Security Merit,Tong-il Medal
Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation w/ Palm
Vietnam Civil Actions Unit Citation w/ Palm
United Nations Medal w/ 1 Service Star
Vietnam Campaign Medal
1st Class Order of the Rising Sun, Grand Cordon
Order of the Sacred Treasure
Meritorious Service Cross
Colombian Cross of the Order of Boyacá


Basic Parachute Badge
Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge

In Retirement

On 1 October 2007, the editors of the National Review encouraged Virginia voters to draft Pace to run in 2008 for the Senate seat to be vacated by retiring Senator John Warner. The magazine cited Pace's conservative Catholic beliefs in making its suggestion. On 2 October 2007, the Wall Street Journal's Political Diary ran a piece about Virginia Republicans attempting to persuade Gen. Pace to run for the Senate seat being vacated by Sen. John Warner in 2008.

On 3 April 2008, private equity firm Behrman Capital announced that Pace had joined the firm as an Operating Partner and been named chairman of the board of Behrman portfolio company, Pelican Products. He was also named a director of ILC Industries, Inc., also a Behrman company.

Pace also currently serves on the Secretary of Defense's Policy Board and as Chairman of the Board for Wall Street Warfighters Foundation, an organization that provides training support and job placement services for disabled veterans interested in careers in the financial services industry.

Civilian Awards

In October 2004, the JCS Vice Chairman received the Keeper of the Flame Award by the Center for Security Policy.

In October 2005, General Pace accepted the National Italian American Foundation's (NIAF) Special Achievement Award for Military Service.

General Pace was awarded the 2005 Henry M. Jackson Distinguished Service Award from the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA).

During the 2006 Congressional Medal of Honor Society meeting, Gen. Pace was awarded the Society's Patriot Award, which is presented annually to a "distinguished American who has exemplified the ideals that make this country strong. Their dedication to freedom, their love for fellow man, their allegiance to our flag and a full understanding of its demands, accepted without reservation."

In April 2006, the John Carroll Society honored him with the John Carroll Medal.

In October 2006, Georgetown University honors General Pace with its President's Medal.

General Pace received the Global Service Award from the World Affairs Council.

General Pace received the Presidential Medal of Freedom on 19 June 2008.

General Pace was recognized as a Distinguished Graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy on 6 March, at the Naval Academy's 11th annual Distinguished Graduate Award Medal Ceremony.


"The violence in Iraq will only subside once Iraqis begin loving their children more than they hate their enemy." --Testimony before Senate Armed Services Committee on 3 August 2006. [Note that this is a rephrased version of a quote usually attributed to Golda Meir, referring to the wars between Israel and the Arab countries - "Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us."]

On the leadership of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld: "He leads in a way that the good Lord tells him is best for our country."

Regarding the moves to repeal the don't ask, don't tell policy: "I believe that homosexual acts between individuals are immoral, and that we should not condone immoral acts. […] I do not believe that the armed forces are well served by saying through our policies that it's OK to be immoral in any way, not just with regards to homosexual acts."


General Pace currently resides in McLean, VA; he is married to Lynne Pace, whom he met as a midshipman, and has a son, Peter, and a daughter, Tiffany. Pace is Roman Catholic.

Honoree ID: 414   Created by: MHOH




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