Tommy Franks

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Tommy Franks (1945-) is a retired General in the United States Army, who took command of United States Central Command (CENTCOM) in August 2000, directed U.S. operations in the Afghanistan War (2001-) after the 9-11 attack, as well as the beginning of the Iraq War. He endorsed George W. Bush in the 2004 election.

General officer

As a colonel, he commanded the artillery of the 1st Cavalry Division, and was designated as promotable to brigadier general and became division chief of staff. He was "frocked" — allowed to wear a general's star early — and was Assistant Division Commander for Maneuver in the Gulf War.[1]

After the war, he became director of the Army "futures laboratory" to develop new doctrine, and then, as a major general, commander of the 2nd Infantry Division. Promoted to lieutenant general, he took command of Third United States Army, the land forces component of CENTCOM. GEN Anthony Zinni, USMC then heading CENTCOM, recommended Franks as his replacement. On Zinni's recommendation, he took LTG Mike "Rifle" DeLong, USMC, as his deputy.

DeLong, who had worked for both Franks and Zinni, said they had very different command styles. Franks was personally more autocratic and rarely let his sense of humor be seen, but he wanted the staff to work through alternatives and present them to him, from which he would make his decision. Zinni was more personally sociable, but tended to make his own decisions.[2]

Early career

Born in Oklahoma, his family moved to Texas when he was a young boy; he was a high school classmate of Laura Bush, although he did not know her at the time. After two years at the University of Texas, he joined the United States Army, and, after completing Officer Candidate School as Distinguished Graduate, was commissioned as a second lieutenant served in the Vietnam War, initially as a forward observer. He won four Bronze Stars and was wounded three times.

Returning to college, received a bachelor's degree in business administration, and later a master's in public administration from Shippensburg University. His professional military education includes the Armed Forces Staff College and the Army War College.

He commanded an artillery battery and a battalion in Germany, and had Pentagon duty as an Army inspector general, and as a legislative aide to two Chiefs of Staff of the Army.


  1. Franks, Tommy & Malcolm McConnell (2004), American Soldier, Regan, p. 143
  2. Michael DeLong with Noah Lukeman (2009), Inside CENTCOM: the Unvarnished Truth about the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Regnery, ISBN 0895260204, p. 10