Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Tommy Ray Franks, (born June 17, 1945) is a retired General in the United States Army, previously serving as the Commander-in-Chief of United States Central Command, overseeing United States Armed Forces operations in a 25-country region, including the Middle East. Franks succeeded General Anthony Zinni to this position on July 6, 2000 and served until his retirement on July 7, 2003. He was succeeded by General John Abizaid.
He was the U.S. general leading the attack on the Taliban in Afghanistan in response to the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and The Pentagon. Franks also led the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and was commander-in-chief of the American occupation forces.
Franks was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1967 as a distinguished graduate of The U.S. Army Artillery and Missile Officer Candidate School (USAAMOCS), Fort Sill, Oklahoma. After an initial tour as a battery Assistant Executive Officer at Fort Sill, he was assigned to the US 9th Infantry Division, Republic of Vietnam, where he served as Forward Observer, Aerial Observer , and Assistant S-3 with 2nd Battalion, 4th Field Artillery. He also served as Fire Support Officer with 5th Battalion (mechanized), 60th Infantry during this tour.
In 1968, Franks returned to Fort Sill, where he commanded a cannon battery in the Artillery Training Center . In 1969, he was selected to participate in the Army's "Boot Strap Degree Completion Program ," and subsequently attended the University of Texas at Arlington, where he graduated with a degree in Business Administration in 1971. Following attendance at the Artillery Advance Course, he was assigned to the Second Armored Cavalry Regiment in West Germany in 1973 where he commanded 1st Squadron Howitzer Battery, and served as Squadron S-3. He also commanded the 84th Armored Engineer Company, and served as Regimental Assistant S-3 during this tour.
Franks, after graduation from Armed Forces Staff College, was posted to The Pentagon in 1976 where he served as an Army Inspector General in the Investigations Division. In 1977 he was assigned to the Office of the Chief of Staff, Army where he served on the Congressional Activities Team , and subsequently as an Executive Assistant.
In 1981, Franks returned to West Germany where he commanded 2nd Battalion, 78th Field Artillery for three years. He returned to the United States in 1984 to attend the Army War College at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where he also completed graduate studies and received a Master of Science Degree in Public Administration at Shippensburg University. He was next assigned to Fort Hood, Texas, as US III Corps Deputy Assistant G3, a position he held until 1987 when he assumed command of Division Artillery, US 1st Cavalry Division. He also served as Chief of Staff, 1st Cavalry Division during this tour.
His initial general officer assignment was Assistant Division Commander (Maneuver), 1st Cavalry Division during Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. During 1991-92, he was assigned as Assistant Commandant of the Field Artillery School at Fort Sill. In 1992, he was assigned to Fort Monroe, Virginia as the first Director, Louisiana Maneuvers Task Force, Office of Chief of Staff of the Army, a position held until 1994 when he was reassigned to South Korea as the CJG3 of Combined Forces Command and U.S. Forces Korea.
From 1995-97, General Franks commanded the 2nd (Warrior) Division, Korea. He assumed command of Third (U.S.) Army/Army Forces Central Command in Atlanta, Ga. in May 1997, a post he held until June 2000 when he was selected for promotion to general and assignment as Commander in Chief, United States Central Command.
General Franks' awards include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal; Distinguished Service Medal (two awards); Legion of Merit (four awards); Bronze Star Medal with Valor device and two oak leaf clusters; Purple Heart (two oak leaf clusters); Air Medal with Valor device; Army Commendation Medal with Valor device; and a number of U.S. and foreign service awards. He wears the Army Staff Identification Badge and the Aircraft Crewmember's Badge . He is a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire.. In late 2004, he was presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
American Soldier by Tommy Franks, Malcolm McConnell, ReganBooks, 2004 ISBN 0060731583
- Gen. Tom Franks: A silent partner in Operation Enduring Freedom - CNN, October 24, 2001
- General Tommy Franks - UK Guardian, November 9, 2001
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