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ChrisLeonard

GEN Griffith Interment

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General Ronald H. Griffith (USA-Ret)

TEAM JAYHAWK:

As we posted previously, GEN Ron Griffith passed away on 18 July 2018; in addition to his wartime service with the VII Corps as the Commanding General, 1st Armored Division, GEN Griffith served as the Department of the Army Inspector General and as the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army. GEN Griffith will be laid to rest in Arlington Cemetery on 7 January 2019 with the Interment Service starting at 1100 in the Fort Myer Old Post Chapel. Further information regarding his services can be found on the Arlington National Cemetery Website. Many of our VII Corps DSVA Board members will attend the interment service to honor his memory and his service; we hope you’ll be able to attend as well.

JAYHAWK!

Paying our Respects to President Bush

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Was honored to be invited by Bush Family to pay respects to our Commander in Chief President George H. W. Bush as part of a Desert Storm group. This salute with the greatest respect and honor to our Commander in Chief for all of us in our VII Corps and our Families.

General Fred Franks (signature)

Frederick M. Franks Jr.
General US Army (retired)
VII Corps Commander Desert Storm
Chairman VII Corps Desert Storm Veterans Association

President George H. W. Bush

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My wife and I were deeply saddened this morning to learn with all of America of our loss of President George H. W. Bush. We send our deepest sympathies to the Bush Family and on behalf of Desert Storm VII Corps Veterans and Families everywhere and our VII Corps Desert Storm Veterans Association.

President Bush was our inspiring and the very epitome of Commander in Chief during the first Gulf War. He led with a strategic vision, clarity of mission, inclusiveness, and with steel in his will we could feel from the Oval Office to our tank turrets. His inner strength, his deep humanity and genuine love for our country and a heart for his troops were everywhere apparent to us all. It was then during that war, and it was later when he attended at Ft. Myer in 1999 our Memorial Service honoring each of our Fallen by name and in his inspiring, deeply emotional talk to our Veterans and Families at our Reunion Dinner.

A man of honor and valor, President Bush was a giant of a patriot, committing his life in genuinely authentic public service, inspiring and motivating us all to do more to advance the ideals of America and to have the courage to stand up and defend them when that was necessary.

A great man and President for the ages by any measure. I was deeply honored and humbled to know him and as with us all to serve in his ranks.

General Fred Franks (signature)

Frederick M. Franks Jr.
General US Army (retired)
VII Corps Commander Desert Storm
Chairman VII Corps Desert Storm Veterans Association

Veterans Day 2018 Message from Gen Fred Franks (USA-Ret)

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VII Corps Veterans and Families,

On behalf of our VII Corps Desert Storm Association Board and the President of our Association, COL (RET) Mark Rado, my wife Denise and I want to wish all our VII Corps Desert Storm Veterans and your Families all the very best this Veterans Day 2018. From 8 November 1990 when we received our no notice order to deploy to Saudi Arabia, to our rapid 250 kilometers 89-hour mounted armored combined arms attack as part of the Coalition 24-28 February 1991, that liberated Kuwait, we were a great team. We fought and won together the largest tank battle in the history of the US Army in southeastern Iraq-northwestern Kuwait. Your courageous and selfless service to our Nation accomplished all that in VII Corps with the greatest skill gained from our training, and your courage, discipline, teamwork, and yes, sacrifice. Our grateful appreciation as well to our Families who served with their own brand of courage, those in the USA, UK, and those staying in already forward deployed locations in Germany. You all made a difference when it counted. We also honor and remember, as we do at our annual Reunion Memorial Service by individual name each year, the sacrifice of those of VII Corps who in Lincoln’s words, ‘gave that last full measure of devotion’ and their Families who continue to endure the pain of their loss. I value our wartime service together with all of you and remain honored to have been your commander as Denise values the invaluable Family contributions at home. We both continue to treasure the friendships over these 28 years.

Across America, we honor on this Veterans Day, this year the 100 anniversary of the Armistice on November 11, 1918 that ended WWI, this special day in America, now in this special commemorative month, all those who selflessly served our Nation and what we stand for. We also honor those who serve today, those around the world, many in combat daily, who stand between the evil out there and all the rest of us, just as all of you did with your own service in VII Corps during Desert Storm and beyond, many in this current war, and we honor their Families.

We will have our 28th Annual Reunion again this year at Ft. Hood, Texas, 22-24 February 2019, continuing our efforts to connect with our Veterans around our Nation. Details are coming soon. We hope to see you at our 28th Reunion.

JAYHAWK!

General Fred Franks (signature)

Fred M. Franks
General, US Army (retired)
Chairman VII Corps DSVA Board of Directors

Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of VII Corps

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Civil War Since 1944 Spanish American War

The proud tradition of service of the U.S. Army VII Corps, one of our most storied combat formations, began in the nineteenth century and spans from actions during the American Civil War to its support of veterans and their families today. During the Civil War, VII Corps was twice established — once in support of operations in Virginia and again in support of the Union Army’s campaign in Arkansas. VII Corps was later called upon to serve in Cuba, contributing to the occupation of Havana, supporting U.S. efforts during the Spanish American War.

August 19, 2018 is a day of great importance as we commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the third activation of this great Army Corps as it was called upon once again–this time to serve with distinction in World War I. The VII Corps was activated in Remiremont, France, under the command of MG William M. Wright, as part of the expanding role of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF). The Corps operated as part of the French Seventh Army for the remaining months of World War I, and in the months following the end of the war, performed occupation duties along the German border in the vicinity of Bitburg and Trier. On 11 May 1919, as part of the withdrawal of U.S. Army soldiers from Europe, VII Corps was inactivated.

On 25 November 25, 1940, as the clouds of war once again loomed, VII Corps was reactivated at Ft. McClellan, Alabama. The Corps initially operated as a training command for U.S. Army National Guard divisions and participated in the famed Louisiana Maneuvers as the “Red Force” in July 1941. Subsequently, VII Corps transferred to San Jose, California where it assumed responsibility for further divisional training and coastal defense. After the attack on Pearl Harbor and U.S. declaration of war, VII Corps moved to Jacksonville, Florida. In September 1943, the Corps deployed to the United Kingdom to prepare for the invasion of Europe, and on 14 February, MG J. Lawton Collins assumed command of the Corps, a position he held until the end of WW II. VII Corps, also known as “Assault Force U,” was one of the units selected for the June 6, 1944 D-Day assault at Utah Beach on. Subordinate units included the 4th, 7th, 9th and 90th Infantry Divisions; the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions; the 4th Cavalry Group and the 6th Armored Group, as well as VII Corps support units. The Corps subsequently led the breakout from the Normandy beachhead as part of “Operation COBRA.” It ended that successful attack with the closing of the Falasie-Agentain Pocket on August 17, 1944. Then part of First Army, elements of VII Corps raced northward across France , engaging the retreating German forces defending the Siegfried Line (German West Wall) in the Huertgen Forest. Pulled out of line in response to the German December offensive, VII Corps moved westward, establishing part of the first defensive line and subsequent counterattack to eliminate German forces in the Battle of the Bulge. The Corps went on to lead attacks into the heart of Germany, ending with the final defeat of the German forces in June 1945.

On June 11, 1945, with the successful conclusion of the war, VII Corps was declared non-operational, and her soldiers redeployed home. In 1950, the Army re-activated VII Corps as one of the two Corps to be stationed in Germany as part of the Cold War deployment of U.S. Forces. For the next 40 years, VII Corps served in Germany as a bulwark against Soviet aggression in western Europe.

The August 2, 1990 invasion of Kuwait by Iraqi forces under Saddam Hussein, set in motion a new chapter for VII Corps. The United States responded by sending troops to Saudi Arabia, supporting a coalition to evict the Iraqi Armed Forces from Kuwait. By late October 1990, it became clear that more forces were needed. The VII Corps, commanded by Lieutenant General Fred Franks, began the planning required to redeploy from their forward bases in Germany, to the Central Command’s Area of Responsibility. For the first time in U.S. history, a forward deployed unit of this size, with the families and dependents forward stationed with them, answered our nation’s call to serve on the world stage. In a herculean effort of detailed coordination, the 1st and 3rd Armored Divisions; 2nd Armored Division (Forward) and 1st Infanrty Division (Forward); together with the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment; the VII Corps Headquarters; and numerous separate brigades and supporting troops deployed from Germany to Saudi Arabia. Simultaneously, the remainder of the 1st Infantry Division deployed from the United States to join the Corps, and subsequently, the United Kingdom 1st Armored Division and U.S. 1st Cavalry Division joined for the decisive land battle.

The air campaign commenced on January 17, 1991, and by the beginning of February, the bulk of VII Corps had moved into the desert assembly areas and then forward into attack positions. A last-minute change, resulting in advancing the VII Corps attack by 24 hours, meant that VII Corps launched its land attack at 1430, February 24, 1991. After an attack of 250 kilometers and 89 hours of unrelenting combat during which the VII Corps fought and decisively won the Battle of Northern Kuwait and Southeastern Iraq, the largest tank battle in the history of the US Army, the Corps once again showing its mettle and distinguishing itself in combat, reached the Euphrates River line, and the Iraqis requested an armistice. Following the cease-fire, VII Corps conducted humanitarian operations in occupied Iraq until UN resolution 687 passed on 3 April 1991. VII Corps was subsequently ordered to withdraw from Iraq.

On April 15, 1992, as a result of the fall of the Soviet Union and subsequent reduction of forces in the European theater of operations, VII Corps was inactivated in Stuttgart, Germany. VII Corps stands ready to return to active duty and serve our Nation and our people once again in peace and in war.

In Memoriam: General Ronald H. Griffith (USA-Ret)

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General Ronald H. Griffith (USA-Ret)

On behalf of my wife Denise, our Association President Mark Rado, and our Board of Directors it is with deep regret that I report to you the sad news of the passing of GEN (Retired) Ron Griffith on 18 July 2018.  A proven combat leader in two wars, Ron’s great leadership in VII Corps during Operations Desert Shield/Storm as IRON 6 commanding Old Ironsides 1st AD, was crucial to our success in liberating Kuwait with our coalition partners.

Ron was a greatly valued friend of us all and a past President of our VII Corps DSVA. We will all miss him.

Visitation is scheduled for Friday, 27 Jul 18 at 1800 at the Damaine Funeral Home, 520 South Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314, and funeral service is scheduled for Saturday, 28 Jul 18 at 1000 at the Ft. Myer Memorial Chapel, 101 McNair Road, Ft. Myer, VA 22211. In lieu of flowers, gifts can be made to the National Museum of the United States Army, online at Armyhistory.org, or mailed to the Army Historical Foundation, 2425 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201.

I ask you to keep Ron’s wife Hurdis and his Family in your thoughts and prayers.

JAYHAWK!

Fred Franks
GEN, US Army (Retired)
Chairman,
VII Corps DSVA

Memorial Day Message from GEN Fred M. Franks (USA-Ret)

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Desert Storm VII Corps Veterans and your Families,

This May 2018 as we approach Memorial Day, that has become a sacred day in America when we honor and remember our men and women who died in military service, Denise and I, on behalf of our Association President Mark Rado and our VII Corps Desert Storm Veterans Association Board, want to thank you and your Families for your own service and our service together in VII Corps during Desert Storm.

With all of you, we honor and remember this Memorial Day and every day our own Fallen, those 111 of our VII Corps Desert Storm Soldiers who in President Lincoln’s words, “gave that last full measure of devotion.” As you know, each year at our annual Reunion we honor and remember our own Fallen at a special Memorial Service. This 27th Anniversary of our victory in 1991 on 24 February 2018 in Ft. Hood Texas, at the Soldier Memorial Chapel there, Chaplain Col (ret) Wayne Lehrer, assisted by Col (ret) Dave O’Connell, conducted a military Memorial Service, as he has done each year, where our past Association President MG (ret) John Altenburg called out each of their names one by one. One of our former commanders gives commander remarks as is appropriate at these ceremonies. This year LTG (ret) Paul (Butch) Funk wartime commander of 3D Armored Division, SPEARHEAD, gave moving and inspiring remarks.

That morning of 24 February 2018 at Ft. Hood we planted in a ceremony a tree with a plaque as an everlasting Memorial to remember and honor our own Fallen. That oak tree now stands in the 1st Cavalry Division Memorial area among memorial trees and other memorials dedicated to fallen from Desert Storm and this ongoing war. Our oak tree is there honoring all our Fallen to include members of the 1st CAV, one of our Divisions in VII Corps in 1991.

We said at the end of Desert Storm over 27 years ago that “we will never forget” and we have not forgotten our VII Corps comrades nor as a Nation all those who have fallen in military service. For all of us, we also remember those of our ranks who have died since we served together on Desert Storm. May we all pause in our own way this Memorial Day 2018 in deep remembrance to honor and remember all those who gave it all in military service–and their Families who bear the pain of their loss. We value our service with each of you and look forward to seeing many of you at our 28th anniversary Reunion the weekend of 22-24 February 2019 as we return to Ft. Hood and Killeen, Texas.

JAYHAWK

General Fred Franks (signature)

Fred M. Franks, Jr.
Gen, US Army (ret)
Chairman VII Corps DSVA

Passing of GEN (Ret) Saint

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GEN (Ret) SaintTeam,

Wanted to tell you the sad news of General Butch Saint’s passing this past Sunday.

General Saint was our USAREUR Commander during our alert then deployment from Germany and there for our return then Honors Ceremony in Stuttgart. He did all he could to support us from Germany when deployed as well as saw to it our Families received the maximum support in VII Corps Base while we were deployed.

For me personally, he was a personal and professional friend.

We send his Family our sympathies and have them in our thoughts and prayers in this time of loss.

Fred Franks
Chairman

2017 Veterans Day Message from General Franks, USA – Ret.

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On behalf of our VII Corps Desert Storm Association Board and the President of our Association, COL (RET) Mark Rado, my wife Denise and I want to wish all our VII Corps Desert Storm Veterans and your Families all the very best this Veterans Day 2017 and every day. We commemorate 27 years from 8 November 1990 when we received a no notice order to deploy to Saudia Arabia, then our rapid 250 kilometers 89 hour attack as part of the Coalition 24-28 February 1991, that liberated Kuwait. We did all that as a team. Thank you for your courageous and selfless service to our Nation in accomplishing all that in VII Corps with the greatest skill gained from our training, and your courage, discipline, teamwork, and yes, sacrifice, during Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Our grateful appreciation as well to our Families who served with their own brand of courage, those in the USA, UK, and those staying in already forward deployed locations in Germany. You all made a difference when it counted. We also honor and remember, as we do at our annual Reunion Memorial Service by individual name each year, the sacrifice of those of VII Corps who in Lincoln’s words, ‘gave that last full measure of devotion’ and their Families who endure the pain of their loss. I value our wartime service together with all of you and remain honored to have been your commander as Denise values the invaluable Family contributions at home. We both continue to treasure the friendships over these 27 years.

We honor on this Veterans Day, this special day in America, now in this special commemorative month, all those who selflessly served our Nation and what we stand for. We also honor those who serve today, those around the world, many daily in combat, who stand between the evil out there and all the rest of us, just as all of you did with your own service in VII Corps during Desert Storm and beyond, many in this current war.

We will have our 27th Annual Reunion this year at Ft. Hood, Texas, continuing now locating our Reunion around our Nation. Most scheduled activities to include visits with Soldiers serving today and equipment, lunch in a Soldier dining hall, our annual Memorial Service honoring our Fallen and their Families, and our Reunion Dinner are on Saturday 24 February 2017. Details are listed on our VII Corps DSVA website to include an opportunity to sign up to attend. We hope to see you at our 27th Reunion.

JAYHAWK!

General Fred Franks (signature)

Fred M. Franks
General, US Army (retired)
Chairman, VII Corps DSVA Board of Directors

A Memorial Day Message from General Fred Franks, USA – Ret.

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Desert Storm VII Corps Veterans and your Families,

As we approach the sacred day of Memorial Day in America when we honor and remember our men and women who died in military service, Denise and I, on behalf of our Association President Mark Rado and our VII Corps Desert Storm Veterans Association Board, want to thank you and your Families for your own service and our service together in VII Corps during Desert Storm.

Together with all of you we honor and remember this Memorial Day and every day our own Fallen, those 111 of our VII Corps Desert Storm Soldiers who in Lincoln’s words, “gave that last full measure of devotion.” As you know, each year at our annual Reunion we honor and remember our own Fallen at a special Memorial Service. This 26th anniversary year of our victory in 1991 on 25 February 2017 in Houston, Texas, Chaplain Col (ret) Wayne Lehrer, assisted by Col (ret) Dave O’Connell, conducted a military Memorial Service, as he has done each year, where our past Association President MG (ret) John Altenburg read each of their names one by one. One of our former commanders gives commander remarks as is appropriate at these ceremonies. This year LTG (ret) Don Holder, war time commander of 2d ACR, gave moving and inspiring remarks that were posted on our website.

We said at the end of Desert Storm over 26 years ago that “we will never forget” and we have not forgotten our VII Corps comrades nor as a Nation all those who have fallen in military service. May we all pause in our own way this Memorial Day 2017 in deep remembrance to honor and remember all those who gave it all in military service–and their Families who bear the pain of their loss. We value our service with each of you and look forward to seeing many of you at our 27th anniversary Reunion the weekend of 23-25 February 2018 as we return to Texas, this time central Texas.

JAYHAWK

General Fred Franks (signature)

Fred M. Franks, Jr.
Gen, US Army (ret)
Chairman VII Corps DSVA