CENTCOM's Gen. Franks Plans to Retire
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 23, 2003 "Gen. (Tommy) Franks has advised me of his desire to step down as the commander of the U.S. Central Command in the weeks immediately ahead and his intention to retire from active duty later this summer."
With these words in a written statement, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld announced that the architect of the stunning victory in Operation Iraqi Freedom would leave his position and the Army.
"He has served our country with great distinction," said Rumsfeld. "I consider myself privileged to have worked so closely with him over these many months."
His request for retirement must still be approved, said DoD officials.
Franks, 57, has been CENTCOM commander since June 2000. The command has responsibility for much of Central Asia, the Middle East and portions of Africa. The general has commanded the coalition actions in Afghanistan and in Iraq.
Franks, from Midland, Texas, was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1967 via Field Artillery Officer Candidate School, Fort Sill, Okla. He served with the 9th Infantry Division, Republic of Vietnam, as a forward observer for the 2nd Battalion, 4th Field Artillery.
His other combat assignment was as assistant division commander (maneuver), 1st Cavalry Division during Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm in 1990-1991.
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 bachelor's degree in business administration in 1971.
Franks served in numerous posts in Germany, Korea, Oklahoma, Texas and the Washington, D.C., area.
His 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.