Military Wiki
Peter Pace
Born November 5, 1945(1945-11-05) (age 77)
Place of birth Brooklyn, New York
Allegiance United States United States of America
Service/branch USMC logo.svg United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1967–2007
Rank US-O10 insignia.svg General
Commands held

Peter Pace (born November 5, 1945) is a retired United States Marine Corps general who served as the 16th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the first Marine appointed to the United States' highest-ranking military office. Appointed by President George W. Bush, Pace succeeded U.S. Air Force General Richard Myers on September 30, 2005. His other four-star assignments include being the 6th Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from October 1, 2001, to August 12, 2005, and as Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Southern Command from September 8, 2000, to September 30, 2001.

The Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced on June 8, 2007, that he would advise the President not to renominate Pace for a second term. Pace retired from the Marine Corps and stepped down as Chairman on October 1, 2007. He was replaced by Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Michael Mullen.[1][2]

Personal background

Pace was born on November 5, 1945, in Brooklyn, New York to Italian American parents (from Noci) and raised in Teaneck, New Jersey, graduating from Teaneck High School in 1963. He received his commission in June 1967, following graduation from the United States Naval Academy. He also holds a Master of Business Administration degree from George Washington University. Pace currently resides in McLean, Virginia; he is married to Lynne Pace, whom he met as a midshipman, and has a son, Peter, and a daughter, Tiffany.[3] Pace is a Roman Catholic.[4]

Military career


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

Returning from overseas in March 1969, he reported to Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C.. 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 Infantry Officers' Advanced Course at Fort Benning, Georgia. 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, D.C., for duty as the Assistant Majors' Monitor. During October 1976, he reported to the 1st Marine Division, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, 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 November 1, 1977. In August 1979, he reported to the Marine Corps Command and Staff College as a student.


Upon completion of school in June 1980, he was assigned duty as Commanding Officer, Marine Corps Recruiting Station, Buffalo, New York. 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, D.C.

After graduation the following June, 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/G3, United Nations Command/Combined Forces Command/United States Forces Korea/Eighth United States Army. Pace returned to Marine Barracks in Washington, D.C. in August 1988 for duty as Commanding Officer. He was promoted to Colonel in October 1988.


Brigadier General Pace, 1992.

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. He was advanced to Brigadier General on April 6, 1992, and was assigned as President of the Marine Corps University and Commanding General of Marine Corps Schools at the Marine Corps Combat Development Command, Quantico, Virginia, on July 13, 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 June 21, 1994, and was 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, D.C., on August 5, 1996.

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

2000s; Joint Chiefs of Staff

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

Gen. Pace is sworn in as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff by outgoing Chairman Richard Myers, September 30, 2005.

On April 22, 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, Richard Myers, retired from the position on September 30, 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."[5]

On June 29, 2005, Gen. Pace appeared before the Armed Services Committee for consideration of his nomination[6] and was later confirmed by the Senate. On September 30, 2005, Gen. Pace was sworn in as the 16th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.[7]

Gen Pace meeting with Soldiers of the 1st Cavalry Division in Iraq in December 2006

On November 29, 2005, Gen. 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 United States 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".[8][9]

After White House officials asserted that Iran was supplying insurgents in Iraq with munitions, Gen. Pace questioned the validity of the claim in a February 2007 press conference. Specifically, Gen. Pace questioned the existence of direct evidence linking the Iranian Government to the supply of the weapons, explosively-formed penetrators.[10]

Military retirement

Gen. Pace awaiting President George W. Bush in the auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building for a ceremony honoring his service as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

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.[11]

On June 8, 2007, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced that he would advise the President not to renominate 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.[1][12][13] On October 1, 2007, General Pace officially retired at Fort Myer, Virginia.[14] After his retirement ceremony, Pace left to visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. There, he left several handwritten notes dated for that day, with a set of his four-star General insignia attached to each one.[15][16][17] 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."

Post-military career

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.[18] 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.[citation needed] On April 3, 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.[19][20] He was also named a director of ILC Industries, Inc., also a Behrman company.[21]

Pace also currently serves on the Secretary of Defense's Policy Board,[22] and as chairman of the board for Wall Street Warfighters Foundation,[23] an organization that provides training support and job placement services for disabled veterans interested in careers in the financial services industry.

Dates of rank

Insignia Rank Dates
US-OF1B.svg Second Lieutenant: 1967 – 1969
US-O2 insignia.svg First Lieutenant: 1969 – April 1971
US-O3 insignia.svg Captain: April 1971 – November 1977
US-O4 insignia.svg Major: November 1977 – October 1982
US-O5 insignia.svg Lieutenant Colonel: October 1982 – October 1988
US-O6 insignia.svg Colonel: October 1988 – 6 April 1992
US-O7 insignia.svg Brigadier General: April 6, 1992 – June 21, 1994
US-O8 insignia.svg Major General: June 21, 1994 – August 5, 1996
US-O9 insignia.svg Lieutenant General: August 5, 1996 – September 8, 2000
US-O10 insignia.svg General: 8 September 2000 – October 1, 2007

Awards and decorations

Military and foreign awards

General Pace wearing his medals, ribbons, and four stars.

General Pace's personal decorations include:[7]

US Army Airborne basic parachutist badge.gif
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Gold star
Gold star
Bronze star
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Silver star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Joint Chiefs of Staff seal.svg
Basic Parachutist Badge
1st Row Defense Distinguished Service Medal w/ 3 oak leaf clusters Navy Distinguished Service Medal Army Distinguished Service Medal Air Force Distinguished Service Medal
2nd Row Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal Defense Superior Service Medal Legion of Merit Bronze Star w/ valor device
3rd Row 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
4th Row 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
5th Row Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation w/ 3 service stars Presidential Medal of Freedom (non-military award) National Defense Service Medal w/ 2 service stars Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal w/ 2 service stars
6th Row Vietnam Service Medal w/ 6 service stars Global War on Terrorism Service Medal Korea Defense Service Medal Humanitarian Service Medal
7th Row 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[24]
8th Row Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation w/ palm Vietnam Civil Actions Unit Citation w/ palm United Nations Medal w/ 1 service star Vietnam Campaign Medal
9th Row 1st Class Order of the Rising Sun, Grand Cordon[25] Order of the Sacred Treasure Meritorious Service Cross[26] Colombian Cross of the Order of Boyacá[27]
Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge
  • General Pace also held both the Expert Rifle and Expert Pistol Badges.

Non-military awards

  • In October 2004, the JCS Vice Chairman received the Keeper of the Flame Award by the Center for Security Policy.[28]
  • In October 2005, General Pace accepted the National Italian American Foundation’s (NIAF) Special Achievement Award for Military Service.[29]
  • General Pace was awarded the 2005 Henry M. Jackson Distinguished Service Award from the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA).[30]
  • 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".[31]
  • In April 2006, the John Carroll Society honored him with the John Carroll Medal.[32]
  • In October 2006, Georgetown University honors General Pace with its President's Medal.[33]
  • General Pace received the Global Service Award from the World Affairs Council.[34]
  • General Pace received the Presidential Medal of Freedom on June 19, 2008.[35]
  • General Pace was recognized as a Distinguished Graduate of the United States Naval Academy on March 6, 2009, at the Naval Academy's 11th annual Distinguished Graduate Award Medal Ceremony.[36]


  • "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.[37] 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".[38][39]
  • 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 okay to be immoral in any way, not just with regards to homosexual acts".[40]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Gen. Pace to Step Down as Chairman of Joint Chiefs". NPR. June 8, 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-08. 
  2. Office of the Press Secretary (June 28, 2007). "President Bush Nominates Admiral Michael Mullen and General James Cartwright to Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff". The White House. 
  3. "In Step With: Gen. Peter Pace". Parade Magazine. October 2, 2005. 
  4. Jon Ward (2007-03-14). "Pace clarifies gay comment as his 'personal moral views'" (– Scholar search). Retrieved 2007-06-18. [dead link]
  5. "President Nominates General Pace as Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff". Office of the Press Secretary, The White House. April 22, 2005. Retrieved 2007-03-12. 
  6. "Hearing Schedule". United States Senate Committee on Armed Services. June 29, 2005. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Biography General Peter Pace". Joint Chiefs of Staff. 2007-10-01.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "JCSbio" defined multiple times with different content
  8. Dana Milbank (November 30, 2005). "Rumsfeld's War On 'Insurgents'". The Washington Post. pp. Page A18. 
  9. "News Transcript:News Briefing with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Gen. Peter Pace". DefenseLink News. U.S. Department of Defense. November 29, 2005. Retrieved 2007-05-28. 
  10. "Top general casts doubt on Tehran's link to Iraq militias". CNN. February 14, 2007. 
  11. "Chaminade High School". 1999-12-31. Retrieved 2012-04-23. 
  12. James, Frank (June 8, 2007). "Gen. Pace out as Joint Chiefs chairman". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2007-06-08. 
  13. "Pace Ousted as Joint Chiefs Chairman in Bid to Avert Senate Battle". Congressional Quarterly. June 8, 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-08. 
  14. "Farewell to the Chairman, Marine General Peter Pace". DefenseLINK. U.S. Department of Defense. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  15. "CNN Newsroom: California Freeway Inferno; Former Iraq Commander Blasts War Leadership; Pace's Tribute To Fallen Vietnam Soldiers; Gore's Nobel Prize.". CNN. October 13, 2007. 
  16. "President Bush Honors Presidential Medal of Freed". The East Room: Office of the Press Secretary, The White House. June 19, 2008. 
  17. Garamone, Jim (June 19, 2008). "President Confers Medal of Freedom on Former Joint Chiefs Chairman Pace". U.S. Department of Defennse. 
  18. The Editors (October 1, 2007). "Draft General Pace". National Review. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  19. "Behrman Capital Names General Peter Pace as Operating Partner". Capital IQ Power Moves. April 3, 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-28. 
  20. "Pelican Products Gets Four Stars: 40 Public Years Later, General Peter Pace Goes Private; Pace's expertise to further strengthen Pelican's military and defense sector credentials". Pelican Products Inc.. April 2, 2008. Retrieved January 11, 2009. 
  21. "Noted" (subscription required for archive access). Wall Street Journal. April 3, 2008. 
  22. White, LCpl Jacquelyn M. (2009-01-13). "Pentagon unveils official portrait of former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs". Headquarters Marine Corps. United States Marine Corps. Retrieved 2009-01-23. [dead link]
  23. "Training Disabled American Heroes for Financial Services Industry". Wall Street Warfighters. Retrieved 2012-04-23. 
  24. Garamone, Jim (August 16, 2007). "Pace Receives South Korean Award, Thanks U.S. Service members". Seoul, South Korea: U.S. Department of Defense. 
  25. Garamone, Jim (August 18, 2007). "Pace Receives Japanese Emperor’s Rising Sun Award". Tokyo, Japan: U.S. Department of Defense. 
  26. "General Peter Pace awarded the Meritorious Service Cross (Military Division)". Governor General of Canada. September 7, 2007. 
  27. "Gen. Pace pops by Southcom to say goodbye". Miami Herald. 
  28. "Former Award Recipient Passes Flame to New Keeper". DefenseLink News. Retrieved 2007-09-15. 
  29. "Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Industry Titans Honored at NIAF Gala at Nation's Capital". National Italian American Foundation. Retrieved 2007-09-15. 
  30. "Top Military Officer Accepts Award ‘On Behalf of the 2.4 Million Americans Who Serve This Nation’". Jewish Institute of National Security Affairs. Archived from the original on May 23, 2007.,2359,2166,1366,3338. Retrieved 2007-09-15. 
  31. "Congressional Medal of Honor Society Awards, 2006 Boston Convention". Congressional Medal of Honor Society. Retrieved 2006-10-01. 
  32. Szczepanowski, Richard (April 28, 2006). "Chairman of the Joint Chiefs tells Carroll Society how he depends on God". Catholic Standard. Retrieved 2008-01-09. 
  33. Garamone, Jim. "Georgetown University Honors Joint Chiefs Chairman". DefenseLink News. Retrieved 2007-09-15. 
  34. Jim Garamone (April 5, 2006). "World Affairs Council Honors U.S. Servicemembers". American Forces Press Service. Retrieved 2013-08-03. 
  35. White House Press Release. "President Bush Honors Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipients". White House Website. Retrieved 2008-06-20. 
  36. USNA Alumni Association Press Release. "Distinguished Graduate Award Recipients Honored". United States Naval Academy Alumni Association. Retrieved 2009-03-06. 
  37. "Hearing Schedule". 2006-08-03. Retrieved 2012-04-23. 
  38. Yahoo News, October 19, 2006.
  39. "Top General: Rumsfeld 'Leads In A Way That The Good Lord Tells Him'". Free Williamsburg. October 20, 2006. Retrieved 2007-05-28. 
  40. "Top general: Remarks on gays were 'personal moral views'". CNN. 13 March 2007. Retrieved 5 April 2011. 


This article incorporates text in the public domain from the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Gen. Charles E. Wilhelm
United States Southern Command
Succeeded by
Gen. James T. Hill
Preceded by
Richard Myers
Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Succeeded by
Edmund Giambastiani
Preceded by
Richard Myers
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Succeeded by
Michael Mullen

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