Skip to comments.USO Canteen FReeper Style ~ General Tommy Franks ~ April 10 2003
Posted on 04/10/2003 3:42:36 AM PDT by snippy_about_it
In 1968, General 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, 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.
General 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, General 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, Penn., 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 III Corps Deputy Assistant G3, a position he held until 1987 when he assumed command of Division Artillery, First Cavalry Division. He also served as Chief of Staff, First Cavalry Division during this tour.
His initial general officer assignment was Assistant Division Commander (Maneuver), First Cavalry Division during Operations Desert Shield/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, Va. 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 Korea as the CJG3 of Combined Forces Command and U.S. Forces Korea.
From 1995-97, General Franks commanded the Second Infantry (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 "V" (three awards); Purple Heart (three awards); Air Medal with "V"; Army Commendation Medal with "V"; and a number of U.S. and foreign service awards. He wears the Army General Staff Identification Badge and the Aircraft Crewmember's Badge.
Date and place of birth: June 17, 1945, in Wynnewood, Okla. (population 2,367)
Family: Wife, Cathy; daughter, Jacqy Matlock; son-in-law, Patrick Matlock; one granddaughter and one grandson.
Occupation: Commander-in-chief of the U.S. Central Command, one of nine U.S. combatant commands that respond directly to the defense secretary and the president.
Nicknames: Pooh to his grandchildren; CINC (pronounced sink), short for commander-in-chief, to those under his command.
Hobbies: Shopping for and refinishing antiques.
On President Bush: I just very simply like him. He's the most self-effacing human being that I've been around in a long time.
On Defense Secretary Rumsfeld: The guy is absolutely fearless.
My advice for a 20-year-old is: First, don't be in a hurry to grow up. Second, there will be a tomorrow.
If I weren't in the military, I'd be: A lawyer.
My heroes are: My wife, my daughter and George Washington. My wife is actually the perfect wife, for 33 years now. My daughter is actually a perfect mother to our grandchildren.
My success is a result of: Fate, family, focus and luck.
My greatest day was: The day my daughter and my grandchildren were born. I know that sounds really corny, but it's absolutely true.
After graduating from Midland's Robert E. Lee High School in 1963, Franks headed to U.T. Austin, where he admits he had not yet developed his attention to detail.
"I had absolutely no sense of any responsibility to study anything," he said. "My grades were so abysmal for the two years I was there that I simply left and joined the Army."
He planned to leave the Army after returning from Vietnam and getting married in 1969. Then one of his bosses asked if he'd like to go back to college as part of the Army's Boot Strap Degree Completion Program.
"I said, 'That'd be great, I'd like to do that,' " Franks recalls. "The question was where to go. I had friends who had graduated from Arlington, so I said, 'Hey, I'd like to go to UTA.' "
By the time he arrived in 1970, his study habits had improved. "I was actually a heckuva student because I was tuned in to what I was trying to do." He remembers going to a few ballgames and social activities, but he primarily concentrated on making good grades. He earned a 3.83 grade-point average in 90 hours at UTA.
Three of those hours came in a literature class of Professor George Fortenberry, a member of the English faculty from 1955 to 1982. "I enjoyed him immensely," Franks said. "He's a guy who stands out in my memory."
Franks also stands out in Dr. Fortenberry's memory, though not quite as vividly.
"I can remember Tommy being very good at discussion, but otherwise I can't remember a lot about him. I can't remember if I gave him an A or an F," the 82-year-old Dr. Fortenberry said with a laugh. "It makes you feel great to be remembered by someone who has reached such a high position." For the record, Franks earned an A in the Representative American Writings class.
He graduated in 1971 with a bachelor of business administration degree and considered going to law school. "I like to argue," he says. But he opted to remain in the military. It was unarguably the right decision.
Neal McCoy Visits CENTCOM
Neal McCoy performs a small concert for members of Central Command Headquarters in Tampa, FL. McCoy and band members also signed autographs and visited with Gen. and Mrs. Franks during their visit. (Photos by PH2 Anthony Dallas, CENTCOM Public Affairs Office)