General Fred Franks was born in West Lawn, PA, and graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point.
Since active Army retirement 1 December 1994, General Franks has continued work in public service. He holds the Class of 1966 Chair in the Simon Center for the Professional Military Ethic at the United States Military Academy at West Point, teaching Battle Command. He serves voluntarily as Chairman of the Board of VII Corps Desert Storm Veterans Association and as President of the Limb Loss Panel of the Defense Health Board. Earlier in 2009 he completed work leading a task force recommending ways for the Army and Nation to better fulfill our duty to Wounded, Ill, and Injured Service Members for the Army Chief of Staff. In September 2001 President George W. Bush appointed him to the American Battle Monuments Commission. He became the ninth Chairman of ABMC in January 2005 and served in that capacity until January 2009. He has been a senior mentor in the U.S. Army’s Strategic Leader Course, Battle Command Training Program, and the Joint Force Land Component Commander Course. General Franks also speaks publicly on leadership and public service, using the theme, ‘to lead is also to serve’. He collaborated with Tom Clancy on a book, Into the Storm: A Study in Command, first published in 1997 with two additional chapters added and the latest edition published 2007. General Franks also serves on a corporate Board of Directors.
During his active Army service, General Franks commanded Armored Cavalry units at platoon, troop, squadron, and regimental levels in the 11th and 3d Armored Cavalry Regiments in periods from early 1960 to 1984. General Franks served in combat in Vietnam as S-3, 2nd Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment August 1969 until being medically evacuated to Valley Forge General Hospital in May 1970 after being wounded in action in Cambodia. After having his leg amputated below the knee and rehabilitation at Valley Forge General Hospital, he was permitted to remain on active duty and returned to active service in early 1972. Later, in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, then Lieutenant General Franks commanded the 146,000 US and British forces of VII Corps that attacked over 250 kilometers in 89 hours and as part of the Coalition liberated Kuwait in February 1991. He concluded his active service as Commanding General Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) from 1991-1994, responsible for the U. S. Army’s school system and for formulating concepts and requirements for future land warfare.
General Franks holds two Master Degrees from Columbia University in New York City, an honorary Master of Military Art and Science from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and an honorary Doctor of Humanities from Albright College in Reading, PA. He successfully completed U.S. Army Airborne and Ranger training, as well as military service schools to include the National War College. He received four awards for valor, two Purple Hearts, numerous military awards for service, and individual decorations and awards from foreign governments, his native Pennsylvania, and the Harry S. Truman Good Neighbor Award Foundation in Kansas City. He was elected to the Athletic Hall of Fame and named a Distinguished Alumni by his hometown Wilson High School, and elected in 2004 to the Berks County Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. In May 2000 the Association of Graduates named him a Distinguished Graduate of West Point. In May 2008 he was inducted into the Ft. Leavenworth Hall of Fame.