An inspiration to others

Published 12:20 pm Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Both David and Layla Pace are covering new ground in their careers after both having recently been promoted to the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 2 in the U.S. Navy.

But after 23 years in the Navy, Layla Pace is blazing new trails not just for herself, but for all women in that branch of the service. She is the first female engineman chief to be commissioned to that rank in the entire Navy.

When she joined the service, the New Jersey native and current Suffolk resident did not even know how to drive a car. Today, her job entails her caring for the engines, air conditioning, refrigeration and other mechanical systems on board the ships upon which she serves — currently the USS Normandy.

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Navy chief warrant officers, the rank to which they were both promoted, are technical specialists with knowledge and skills of a specific occupational field at a level beyond what is normally expected of a master chief petty officer.

One of the things they’re expected to do is to mentor and inspire a younger generation of sailors, and it’s a part of the job that both Paces talk about fondly. “I get to help mentor junior sailors and help them achieve what they’re trying to achieve,” David Pace said recently.

Considering his wife’s history in the Navy, she must surely be an inspiration to those who work under her and to other women throughout the service.