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 > Little League Online > Media > Little League News Archive > 2005 > Little League Graduate Reaches Highest Position in U.S. Military

Little League Graduate Reaches Highest Position in U.S. Military

U.S. Marine Gen. Peter Pace, then Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, delivers a speech to a crowd of 39,000 at the 2003 Little League Baseball World Series after his enshrinement into the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum Hall of Excellence.

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (Sept. 30, 2005) – A Little League graduate has reached the highest position a member of the U.S. military can attain.

U.S. Marine Gen. Peter Pace, nominated in April by President George W. Bush to be the 16th Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, was officially promoted today, succeeding Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers. The Joint Chiefs of Staff is the unified operational command of the U.S. armed forces.

Gen. Pace said playing at Teaneck (N.J.) Southern Little League more than four decades ago was one of the forces that shaped his future. He said he never had great skills for the game, but that he just “wanted to play.”

“Over time I learned if I wanted play, I had to go to practice and practice on my own, and do all the things I needed to be successful,” Gen. Pace said during a ceremony on Aug. 23, 2003 during the Little League Baseball World Series, at which he was enshrined in the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum Hall of Excellence. “I've got to believe that the young people today are learning that.”

Gen. Pace was enshrined in the Hall of Excellence on the same day as Army Staff Sgt. Wilbert Davis, who was killed in action in Iraq in April 2003. Staff Sgt. Davis played at Belmont Heights Little League in Tampa, Fla., and in the 1975 Little League Baseball World Series in Williamsport.

“We are privileged that many of our nation’s warriors, past and present, have learned the lessons of leadership and teamwork on a Little League field,” Stephen D. Keener, president and chief executive officer of Little League Baseball and Softball, said. “Little League is truly grateful for the selfless sacrifices made every day by men and women in uniform, and we congratulate Gen. Pace on this achievement.”

In 1968, as a U.S. Naval Academy graduate (Class of ’67), then-2nd Lt. Pace’s first assignment during the Vietnam War was to help lead a platoon of Marines dislodge an enemy force four times their strength in the city of Hue. He subsequently served several assignments during his distinguished career, including Commander, Marine Forces Europe. He reached four-star rank in 2000, and was the sixth officer (and the first Marine) to become Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. He is the first Marine to become Chairman.

Enshrinement in the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum Hall of Excellence is conducted annually for a Little League graduate (or graduates) who have demonstrated a commitment to excellence in their chosen profession and exemplify the values learned as children in Little League. Hall of Excellence Enshrinees are selected through a defined voting system by the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum Advisory Board.

U.S. Marine Gen. Peter Pace meets with players on the Saugus, Mass., team, before the U.S. Championship game at Howard J. Lamade Stadium at the 2003 Little League Baseball World Series. Gen. Pace is the highest-ranking active duty officer to visit a Little League Baseball World Series, and is the first Marine to become Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.


A list of all enshrinees of the Hall of Excellence is located here: http://www.littleleague.org/museum/hallofexcellence.asp .


Below is a list of the previous 15 Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the years they served.

General of the Army, Omar N. Bradley, 1949–1953
Adm. Arthur W. Radford, U.S. Navy, 1953–1957
Gen. Nathan F. Twining, U.S. Air Force, 1957–1960
Gen. Lyman L. Lemnitzer, U.S. Army, 1960–1962
Gen. Maxwell D. Taylor, U.S. Army, 1962–1964
Gen. Earle G. Wheeler, U.S. Army, 1964–1970
Adm. Thomas H. Moorer, U.S. Navy, 1970–1974
Gen. George S. Brown, U.S. Air Force, 1974–1978
Gen. David C. Jones, U.S. Air Force, 1978–1982
Gen. John W. Vessey, Jr., U.S. Army, 1982–1985
Adm. William J. Crowe, U.S. Navy, 1985–1989
Gen. Colin L. Powell, U.S. Army, 1989–1993
Gen. John M. Shalikashvili, U.S. Army, 1993–1997
Gen. Henry H. Shelton, U.S. Army, 1997–2001
Gen. Richard B. Myers, U.S. Air Force, 2001-2005