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Retired U.S. Army General wins Horatio Alger Award

BY CHRIS CASTEEL Published: March 20, 2010
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WASHINGTON — Retired U.S. Army Gen. Tommy R. Franks, the Oklahoma native who led the U.S. military’s invasion of Iraq in 2003 and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom a year later, has been named a 2010 winner of the Horatio Alger Award.

The award, which honors people for overcoming adversity to achieve great success, is given by the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, which was founded in 1947.

Franks, 64, was born in Wynnewood and adopted by Ray and Lorene Franks, who later moved to Midland, Texas, where Tommy Franks graduated from high school. Franks dropped out of the University of Texas after two years because of poor grades and joined the Army in 1967. He was a distinguished graduate of the Artillery Officer Candidate School and served in Vietnam.

He obtained a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas in Arlington and continued his distinguished military career, ultimately serving as Commander in Chief of the U.S. Central Command. The command included the Middle East, and Franks led the attack that chased the Taliban out of control of Afghanistan and then led the invasion of Iraq.

He retired from the Army in 2003.

Franks will be inducted into the Horatio Alger Association on April 9, along with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and nine business leaders.