Update Your Profile

Stay up to date with all West Point news and stay connected with fellow grads

Update your Register Entry

Cullum Files

historical records

Class Notes

login required, available to graduates & widows


2001 Distinguished Graduate Award

     Mr. Stanley C. Pace, June 1943

In a career of over fifty years, encompassing both distinguished military service and extraordinary achievements in civilian industry, Stanley C. Pace has served his country with steadfast devotion to the principles expressed in the motto of the United States Military Academy — Duty, Honor, Country.
Having earned his pilot’s wings during his last year at West Point, Stan Pace graduated near the top of his Class in June 1943 and became a Lieutenant in the Army Air Corps. After an abbreviated course of B-24 combat crew training, he joined the 465th Bombardment Group (Heavy) of the 15th Air Force in Italy and soon had 25 bombing missions to his credit against targets in Romania, Austria, and Germany.
In early August 1944, on a mission to bomb the Manzell-Dornier Works in Friedrichshafen, Stan Pace and his crew became involved in one of the 15th Air Force’s greatest battles. During the course of the action, his plane was hit with intense enemy fire and was soon engulfed in flames. After ordering everyone in his crew to bail out, Stan Pace started to follow suit, but then saw that his co-pilot had been trapped in the plane by a parachute harness that had become entangled in a damaged portion of the flight deck. In an act of extraordinary heroism, Stan Pace rescued the man, but he was badly burned in the process, and after his capture by German authorities, he spent the next five months in a Luftwaffe hospital in a suburb of Munich. From there he was transferred to Stalag Luft I on the Baltic Coast of Germany, where he spent four months and was finally liberated by the Russians in 1945.
After World War II, Captain Pace began a new phase of his career as an airman. In January 1946, he was assigned to Wright Field, Ohio, where he was placed in charge of procurement of aircraft engines for the entire Army, and later, Air Force, a position of enormous responsibility for a junior officer. Then, with the onset of the Korean War, Stan Pace’s responsibilities increased even more. His record of superb performance resulted in his being given charge of procuring not only all engines for all aircraft, but also all of their communications equipment, electronics, accessories, instruments, and armaments. He was just over thirty years of age.
In the spring of 1954, Stan Pace, now a Colonel and one of the first six men in his Class promoted to that grade, resigned his commission and accepted a position as the General Manager of the Thompson Products automobile parts plant in Los Angeles, where he soon established an extraordinary reputation for leadership and managerial skill. As a result, when Thompson's Jet Engine Division in Cleveland ran into serious difficulties, Stan Pace was brought in to develop the means to overcome them, which he did in short order. From there, his star rose steadily. By the 1970s, with Thompson now renamed TRW, he was in complete charge of the company's huge automotive business, and in 1977 he was elected President and Chief Operating Officer. After performing an analysis of America's security needs, the new President decided to expand TRW’s space and defense products lines, and soon TRW was playing a large and crucial role in America’s national defense. During Stan Pace’s tenure, TRW designed, built, and successfully launched over twenty spacecraft for the Air Force, Navy, and NASA.
In 1985, just as Stan Pace was preparing to retire, the General Dynamics Corporation came under attack for alleged “waste, fraud, and abuse” in connection with billions of dollars worth of government defense contracts. To restore public trust in the company, an urgent search was undertaken for a man of unquestionable integrity and demonstrated ability to become General Dynamics’ Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. A committee made up of representatives from General Dynamics, the Defense Department, and Wall Street identified Stan Pace as the man for the job, and after consulting with friends and advisors, he decided to postpone his retirement and risk his reputation for the good of the Corporation and the U.S. Defense establishment.
As Chairman, Stan Pace made his number one priority the establishment and enforcement of unquestionable standards of ethics, and as a result of his Ethics Program, which gained widespread notice and praise, the Corporation was saved from ruin. Stan Pace also turned to expanding General Dynamics’ lines of products, and by the time he left the Corporation, the list of additions included the F-16 and F-22 aircraft, a nuclear submarine, the Tomahawk cruise missile, major modifications on the Abrams Tank, and an improved Atlas launch vehicle, all dramatic enhancements of America's defense arsenal.
During all the years of his service in industry and even after his retirement, Stan Pace was also attending to civic duties and charitable work. He began contributing time and effort to the Boy Scouts of America and the United Way in the 1950s. He became a member of the Board of Trustees of Denison University, served on the National Board of Junior Achievement, helped found the Greater Cleveland Foundation, and accepted an appointment to the Department of Defense Human Resources Task Force. Nor did he neglect his Alma Mater. He was an AOG Class Trustee. He contributed to the Thayer Gate Memorial Project and the funding of Herbert Hall. He caused General Dynamics to endow a professorial chair at the Academy, and he became a leadership donor to the Bicentennial Campaign.
Through the decades that have passed since his graduation, Stan Pace’s every action has set a standard of performance and conduct against which future generations of West Point graduates will be measured.
Accordingly, the Association of Graduates of the United States Military Academy takes pride in presenting the 2001 Distinguished Graduate Award to Stanley C. Pace.

Chairman and CEO