VII Corps Veterans and Families Veterans Day 2023,
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, 11 November 2023.
Each year near Veterans Day I am reminded that we got the order to deploy to Saudi Arabia, except for eight of us, actually no notice from President George H. W. Bush’s address to the Nation on 8 November 1990, just three days before Veterans Day. That makes this of course our 33rd Anniversary year.
As all of you know as well as I do, we would execute what would be a totally new mission against a new enemy on different terrain and organized differently than our Cold War VII Corps with US Army units from Germany and the USA and British units from the UK and Germany. All that plus we were to leave our Families in our forward deployed locations in Germany. That no notice start required enormous initiative and adaptation by individuals, units, and Families in our new Corps. You made that happen like the great professionals you were. Then we located to the desert, made our plans and did our rehearsals; got desert smart and desert tough and ready to attack, to fight and win. Then together in this new VII Corps team we executed our historic and rapid 250 kilometer, 89-hour mounted five-division armored combined arms attack as part of the Coalition that liberated Kuwait from 24-28 February 1991. Then together, and in accordance with the values of who we are and what we stand for, we executed what turned out to be an unpredicted and over six-week occupation and humanitarian mission. Time for me does not dim at all my memory of what a great team we were together, the largest armored corps ever fielded by the US Army in combat.
We fought and won together the largest tank battle in the history of the US Army in southeastern Iraq-northwestern Kuwait as documented by the US Army War College. Your courageous and selfless service to our Nation accomplished all that in VII Corps with the greatest combat skill gainedfrom our intense battle focused razor-sharp training, and then with your courage, discipline, battle command leadership, extraordinary initiative, teamwork, will to win, and yes, sacrifice in execution.
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. All of you made a difference when it counted.
We also honor and remember, as we do at our annual Reunion Memorial Service, when we call each individual name then wait in silence, the sacrifice of those 111 of VII Corps who in President Lincoln’s words, ‘gave that last full measure of devotion’ and their Families who continue to endure the pain of their loss.
I ask we remember those serving today as well, who recently deployed and continue to deploy to the Middle East, land, sea, and air as our Nation stands with Israel and their actions in defense of their nation and people against the barbaric terrorist attacks by Hamas on October 7 and as we also protect and defend our forces already stationed and serving in that region as well as those in Europe and the Far East in the Pacific.
As these years have passed, I continue to treasure our wartime service together in VII Corps even more strongly and remain honored to have been your commander as Denise and I both admire and respect the invaluable Family contributions at home. We both continue to treasure the friendships over these 33 years.
All the best to each of you and your Families this 2023 Veterans Day. Please save the date for our 33d VII Corps DSVA Reunion 15-18 February 2024 in Washington DC.
Fred M. Franks
General, US Army (retired)
Chairman VII Corps DSVA Board of Directors