The military’s senior general has been chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff since 2005 but is stepping down Oct. 1. Pace says he is proud that he has been able to look out for the welfare of lower-ranking service members and that civilian leaders talk about the impact of decisions on young soldiers.
He first entered combat in Vietnam during the Battle of Hue City in 1968 as a platoon leader.
“I had no idea how I had gone through 13 months in combat as a platoon leader without getting scratched and, more importantly, I lost some wonderful Marines who died following Second Lieutenant Pace’s orders in combat.”
Pace said he never cared about whether he was promoted or not, which has led to his belief that he has fulfilled the mission he set out for himself 40 years ago. Pace says his career has been about trying to repay the soldiers who died following his orders and the soldiers who died under his command.
“Now I am going home,” he said, referring to his retirement in October. “I am not a volunteer to go home, nor am I dragging my feet. I am sitting here saying the same thing I have said for 40 years: I love this nation, I love each and every one of you who wear the uniform, I would serve until I die if they would let me."