War in Iraq: U.S. Army Commanders

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War in Iraq: U.S. Army Commanders

Operation Iraqi Freedom

Gen. Tommy R. Franks assumed command of U.S. Central Command in July 2000. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1967 as a distinguished graduate of the Artillery Officer Candidate School, Fort Sill, Okla. After an initial tour as a battery assistant executive officer at Fort Sill, he was assigned to the 9th Infantry Division, Republic of Vietnam, where he served as forward observer, aerial observer and assistant S-3 with 2nd Battalion, 4th Field Artillery. He also served as fire support officer with 5th Battalion (Mechanized), 60th Infantry, during this tour.

In 1968 Gen. 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 2nd 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.

After graduation from Armed Forces Staff College, he 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, Gen. 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, Pa., where he also completed graduate studies and received a master's degree in public administration at Shippensburg University. He was next assigned to Fort Hood, Texas, as III Corps deputy assistant G-3, a position he held until 1987 when he assumed command of Division Artillery, 1st Cavalry Division. He also served as the chief of staff of the 1st Cavalry Division during this tour.

His initial general officer assignment was assistant division commander (Maneuver), 1st Cavalry Division, during Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm. From 1991 to 1992, he was 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 to 1997 Gen. Franks commanded the 2nd Infantry 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, U.S. Central Command.

Lt. Gen. John P. Abizaid assumed duties as the deputy commander (Forward) for Combined Forces Command, U.S. Central Command, in January 2003. He was commissioned in Infantry upon graduation from the U.S. Military Academy in 1973. He started his career with the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment at Fort Bragg, N.C., where he served as a rifle and scout platoon leader. He commanded companies in the 2nd and 1st Ranger Battalions, leading a Ranger rifle company during the invasion of Grenada.

Gen. Abizaid commanded the 3rd Battalion, 325th Airborne Battalion Combat Team in Vicenza, Italy, during the Gulf crisis and deployed with the battalion to Kurdistan in Northern Iraq. He commanded the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division and served as the assistant division commander, 1st Armored Division, in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Following that tour, he served as the 66th Commandant at West Point. Most recently, he commanded the 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized) in Wurzburg, Germany.

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