Tommy Franks was born in Wynnewood (pronounced "Winnywood"), Oklahoma, and grew up in Midland, Texas. He joined the United States Army, and in 1967, as a distinguished graduate of the Artillery Officer Candidate School, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant and sent to Vietnam.
His service in Vietnam earned him six awards for Valor and three Purple Hearts. That assignment was the start of a long and distinguished career that would take him from one world hot spot to another where he gained the knowledge and experience that would prepare him for the leadership role that would mark his place in the annals of American history.
In June 2000, he was promoted to four-star General and assigned as Commander-in-Chief, United States Central Command. It's in this position that the world knows Tommy Franks best - the culmination of an almost four-decade military career that saw him lead American and Coalition troops in two strategically unprecedented campaigns in two years - Operation En-during Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq.
The General's awards include five Distinguished Service Medals, four Legions of Merit, four Bronze Stars and three Purple Hearts in addition to numerous foreign awards. President George W. Bush awarded him the Nation's highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, on December 14, 2004.
Since his retirement in 2003, General Franks has traveled the world, speaking on leadership, character and the value of Democracy. His autobiography, American Soldier debuted as Number 1 on the New York Times Best Sellers list in August 2004. General Franks and his wife, Cathryn Carley Franks, have one daughter, who is married to a military officer, and three grandchildren. The Franks live at their ranch in Roosevelt, Oklahoma, with longhorns, buffalo, Angus cattle, horses and their cat, Bailey.
President George W. Bush calls Franks "a down-to-earth, no-nonsense guy." His troops call him "a Soldier's General" and his associates call him "an astute businessman."