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Iraq War 10 Years Later: Where Are They Now? Gen. Tommy Franks (invasion commander)

Jessica Lynch. Tommy Franks.  'Chemical Ali.' Tony Blair. Hans Blix. Ten years ago, as the war in Iraq began, these were names on front pages everywhere. Find out what has happened to them – and 10 other headliners associated with the conflict – since.

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U.S. Gen.Tommy Franks pumpa his fist upon arrival at the newly re-named Baghdad International Airport April 16, 2003.

Gen. Tommy Franks (invasion commander)

THEN
The commander of allied forces in the Persian Gulf, Franks directed the war in Iraq from the high-tech U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) near Doha, Qatar. President Bush called on the four-star army general in early 2002 to begin planning the ouster of Saddam Hussein.

Franks, who was born in Oklahoma, grew up in Texas, attending the same high school as first lady Laura Bush. He was the U.S. general leading the 2001 U.S. invasion of Afghanistan.

Franks’ retirement was announced on May 22, 2003, little more than a month after the invasion was completed. Then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was reported to have offered him the position of Army Chief of Staff, but he declined. Franks retired in July and was succeeded by Gen. John Abizaid.


He may have retired, but Franks continues to keep busy.

According to his Web site, Franks has traveled the world speaking on “leadership, character and the value of democracy.” He also found time to write his autobiography, “American Soldier,” which was a best-seller in 2004.

He was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) by order of Queen Elizabeth II on May 25, 2004, and President George W. Bush awarded him the Nation’s highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, on December 14, 2004.

Win McNamee/Getty Images file

Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients, from left former CIA director George Tenet, retired four star General Tommy Franks, and Paul Bremer, former administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, attend the awards ceremony in the East Room of the White House on Dec. 14, 2004.

NOW

Franks and his wife, Cathryn Carley Franks, have one daughter, who is married to a military officer, and several grandchildren. According to his Web site, they divide their time between homes in Tampa, Fla., and Oklahoma.

In December 2007, Franks opened the first iteration of the General Tommy Franks Leadership Institute and Museum in downtown Hobart, Okla. “Experience the life and times of General Tommy Franks as they are showcased throughout the newly renovated facilities,” according to a posting on his website.

 According to a report in the local Lawton Constitution paper, Franks told a crowd of people who gathered for the museum’s 2007 “soft opening” that Americans should learn from history, and not be too quick to judge, when deciding how to approach foreign policy.

He is also working on the Four Star Leadership Camp, a program that selects 50 top-performing high school students and offers them the opportunity to meet with national and international leaders, according to the program's website. "The purpose is to improve their thinking, communication, and leadership abilities so these future leaders will be better prepared to influence the direction of our country," Michael Hayes, Franks' chief of staff, told NBC News.

IRAQ TEN YEARS LATER: WHERE ARE THEY NOW?