Oct. 20, 2003

Frank Talk: General Tommy R. Franks (USA-Retired) At SMU Nov. 5-6

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General Tommy R. FranksDALLAS (SMU) --General Tommy R. Franks (USA-Retired), who led U.S. forces in routing the Taliban and knocking Saddam Hussein from power and helped transform the U.S. military to fight a global war on terrorism, will visit SMU Nov. 5-6.

Franks will receive the Medal of Freedom from the University’s John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies at SMU’s Dedman College and speak at the Hart Global Leaders Forum. The Medal of Freedom is given periodically to an individual with recognized contributions in promoting democracy and fostering peace. Past recipients include Secretary of State Colin Powell, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and former President George H. W. Bush.

The Hart Global Leaders Forum introduces high school students to world leaders with speeches and seminars. Past speakers have included President Gerald R. Ford, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Both events are open to the media:

Medal of Freedom

WHEN: 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 5
WHAT: Medal ceremony and address
WHERE: McFarlin Auditorium, 6405 Boaz Lane
PUBLIC ACCESS: Open to the public. Free tickets are available by calling 214-768-4280 or at http://www.smu.edu/rsvp.
MEDIA ACCESS: Photographers and radio reporters will be in the rear of McFarlin Auditorium. A mult box will be provided. No photography will be allowed from outside this area. Photos and recordings are allowed only during the medal ceremony and the first 10 minutes of the lecture. No flash photography. Seating is available for reporters who wish to stay for the entire lecture. Media need to call SMU Public Affairs at 214-768-7650.

Hart Global Leaders

WHEN: 9 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 6. Photographers need to be in place by 8:45 a.m.
WHAT: Address followed by media Q&A
WHERE: Hughes-Trigg Student Center Theater, 3140 Dyer Street
PUBLIC ACCESS: Not open to the general public; invited high school students only.
MEDIA ACCESS: Photographers and radio reporters will be in the rear of the theater; a mult box will be available. No time limits on photography or recording. If space allows, seating will be available for reporters. Immediately following Franks’ address, SMU will convene a 15-minute media Q&A in the Promenade B room on the lower level of the Hughes-Trigg Student Center. Media should call SMU Public Affairs at 214-768-7650.

Franks spent 36 years in the military, serving first in Vietnam, where he was wounded in battle, and moving up through the ranks. On Sept. 11, 2001, he was the Commander-in-Chief of the U. S. Central Command (Centcom), an area of responsibility that includes 25 countries from the Horn of Africa to Asia, including much of the Middle East and Iraq. In response to the attacks, Franks and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld put together a war plan that included use of unconventional forces and methods in Afghanistan. The plan included the use of Special Forces, unmanned drones and precision weapons, and ground support from Afghan tribal groups, whose fighters called in air strikes against the enemy to U.S. warplanes.

For the invasion of Iraq, Franks commanded 230,000 troops in the Gulf region. Operation Iraqi Freedom included joint and combined operations, with Army, Navy, Marine, Air Force, Special Forces, Coast Guard and coalition forces.

During his military career, Franks has received many medals and honors, including the Bronze Star with “V,” three Purple Hearts, Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit and a number of other U.S. and foreign service awards. On Aug. 1, 2003, he retired from the service with the rank of a four-star general.