Pace’s stars

The Washington Times Weekly - - National -

Out­go­ing chair man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Peter Pace made a quiet stop on Oct. 1, the day he re­tired af­ter 43 years of ser­vice, to the Viet­nam Vet­er­ans Me­mo­rial.

Against the solemn black me­mo­rial bear­ing the names of those killed in Viet­nam, Gen. Pace left three in­dex cards. On each was a set of the four stars he wore on his shoul­der as gen­eral for the past seven years, along with a note to fallen com­rades, a touch­ing trib­ute dis­cov­ered by sev­eral vet­er­ans who saw the cards.

The cards were ad­dressed to three mem­bers of Gen. Pace’s Marine Ri­fle pla­toon who fought and died in Viet­nam around 1968. “Th­ese are yours — Not mine!” Gen. Pace wrote, adding, “With Love and Re­spect, Your Pla­toon Leader Pete Pace.”

A spokesman for Gen. Pace said the stop by the me­mo­rial was a per­sonal visit.

One of the cards was for Lance Cpl. Fari­naro, whom Gen. Pace has spo­ken of in the past. The fel­low Mar ine was killed by a sniper as he stood next to Lt. Pace. One other Marine also was killed as he stood in front of him, thus shield­ing him from the shooter.

“Some died, oth­ers did not. I still truly do not un­der­stand,” Gen. Pace said in Septem­ber. “But be­cause of Guido and the oth­ers I lost, I de­ter­mined that I would con­tinue to serve in the Marine Corps un­til I was no longer needed, and to tr y to serve in a way that paid re­spect to their lives.”

Bill Gertz cov­ers the Pen­tagon. He can be reached at 202/636-3274 or at bgertz@wash­ing­ton­

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