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A Memorial Day 2024 Message from GEN Franks

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General Fred Franks (USA-Ret) speaks at the VII Corps Desert Storm Veterans Association 29th Anniversary Memorial & Reunion

Desert Storm VII Corps Veterans and your Families,

On Memorial Day, Monday 27 May 2024, this special day across America, at our overseas American Cemeteries and wherever our military is currently serving, we honor and remember our men and women who died in military service to our Nation.

On this most special and sacred day, in this our 33d Anniversary year of our VII Corps Victory in Desert Storm that as part of the Coalition that liberated Kuwait, 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 President Lincoln’s words, “gave that last full measure of devotion” and remember their Gold Star Families.

We said at the end of Desert Storm over 33 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.

This year at our 33rd Anniversary Reunion (held 15-18 February 2024 in Arlington, VA) of our victory in 1991, faithful to that promise at the Old Post Chapel next to Arlington National Cemetery, Chaplain COL (Ret) Dave O’Connell, conducted a military Memorial Service, where our past Association President MG (Ret) John Altenburg called out each of the names of our Fallen one by one. One of our former wartime leaders provides remarks in their honor and memory, as is right at these ceremonies. This year CSM (Ret) Joe T. Hill, Wartime 3rd AD CSM, gave informative, inspiring, and moving remarks; he spoke of the power of prayer and his deep love for Soldiers was evident in every word he spoke . Earlier in the weekend, COL (Ret) Rado led a group of our veterans to Arlington National Cemetery where wreaths were placed at the graves of CPT Joseph G. Kime III (3AD) and PFC Robert L. Daugherty (1ID) and we visited the graves of some of our more recently departed Desert Storm Leaders.  Additionally, MG (Ret Altenburg), COL (Ret) Rado, CSM (Ret) Hill, and our Association Treasurer, CSM (Ret) Shrewsberry were honored to place a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier as a tribute to our 111 Fallen JAYHAWK Soldiers… “we will never forget.”

May we all pause in our own way this Memorial Day 2024 in deep remembrance to honor and remember our own 111 Fallen and all those who gave it all in military service–and their Gold Star Families who bear the pain of their loss.

We deeply treasure our service with each of you as well as your Families. We are planning our 34th Reunion the weekend of 13-16 February 2025 in Washington DC at the Crystal Gateway Marriott and Ft. Myer, VA (Old Post Chapel). Blessings this Memorial Day to all of you to stay well and remain in contact with each other and reach out to Families of our Fallen as that is possible for you.

 

JAYHAWK!!

Fred M. Franks, Jr.

Gen, US Army (ret)

Chairman VII Corps DSVA Board

A letter from GEN Franks in honor of Vietnam Veterans Day 2024

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Honor and Remembrance Vietnam War Veterans Day Special and heartfelt greetings to all my fellow Vietnam War veterans and your families. 29 March is a national day of honor, remembrance, and gratitude for all of you and your families. This National Vietnam War Veterans Day was established by our nation in 2017 by legislation signed by President Trump on March 28, 2017, following a proclamation from President Obama designating May 28, 2012, to November 11, 2025, as commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.
I am humbled to be among my fellow Vietnam War veterans today and every day. And privileged and proud to call myself one of you. Today a grateful nation pauses to honor and remember those who served during Vietnam, to honor your service, valor, and sacrifice. We pause to honor and remember forever, those 58,318 fallen who gave in President Lincoln’s words ‘that last full measure of devotion’, those wounded who still carry visible and invisible wounds, our POWs, those missing in action, and our Gold Star families.
My own deepest thanks and greatest respect to all those who loyally answered our nation’s call with inspiring personal courage, skill, no quit tenacity, intense loyal devotion to each other and yes, selfless sacrifice. You served with inspiring personal courage in battle and skill equal to any generation in our military history, a generation my good friend and historian Col (Ret) Bob Sorley calls “also great.” I believe you left us all with a legacy and example of courage, selfless service and excellence that will forever endure.
Today, on this Vietnam War Veterans Day we reaffirm our most fundamental duties as citizens of the United States of America: to show all who have served in the armed forces of our nation during the Vietnam War the gratitude of a grateful nation and the respect and honor you have earned. I came to the conclusion a long time ago after I was seriously wounded and at US Army Valley Forge General Hospital among my fellow Vietnam War amputees that I strongly and fiercely believe that when our citizens serve in our armed forces by courageously swearing an oath of unlimited liability to support and defend our Constitution with their lives as that might be necessary, there is created an implied bond of trust that they can trust that we will be there for them when they come home and their duties and missions are complete, to be there for them to say thanks for their selfless service and sacrifice and to show that gratitude in ways that open opportunities for educational and employment opportunities, and in ways that provides them medical assistance for visible and invisible wounds as that might be needed and for as long as necessary.
That trust was fractured during and after the Vietnam War. We can never forget that fractured trust of years ago, but we can on this national holiday continue to resolve never to let that happen again. We all can, veterans and non-veterans alike reach out to each
other and as a nation, reach out with gratitude and honor to our Vietnam veterans for your selfless service and sacrifice. We can and must fulfill that trust to our Vietnam veterans and all those who have served and your families and to the Gold Star families of those who did
not come home.
In my own case, following extensive treatment and rehabilitation, I was permitted to remain on active duty, what I like to call life’s great privilege. In Desert Storm I was honored to command VII Corps in battle. Where every day and in battle I was inspired by
remembering my fellow Vietnam veterans and driven by doing what I could then and going forward to fulfill that bond of trust After the parade held in Washington DC in June 1991 following Desert Storm, there was one place my wife Denise and I wanted to go. The quiet
place of honor and remembrance. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The names of friends, relatives, fellow soldiers, those I served with in 2d Squadron 11th ACR Blackhorse, my 15 West Point classmates; never forgotten, never far away. This one was for you, too. Yes, the
memories of heroes honored there and to all those who served during Vietnam who should be forever proud of loyally answering our nation’s call, and of duty executed with honor, selfless sacrifice, skill, valor, and great personal courage. Thank you to all our fellow
citizens for remembering and honoring our Vietnam War veterans and their families today. On this National Vietnam War Veterans Day and every day, I remain humbled and proud to be one of you.

Thank you. Welcome Home!!

Very Respectfully,


Frederick M Franks, Jr.
General US Army (ret)

In Memory of Chaplain (COL, USA Retired) Daniel O. Davis

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To our VII Corps TEAMMMATES:  It is my deep regret to inform you that our VII Corps Chaplain, Chaplain (COL, USA Retired) Daniel O. Davis passed away on Christmas Day 2023.  Chaplain Davis was an incredible leader and a valuable member of the VII Corps TEAM during OPERATIONS DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM.  His ability to provide pastoral care across the entire VII Corps Area of Operations was inspirational to us all. His role in enhancing the emotional, social, and spiritual care of our Soldiers was a combat multiplier and had a significant role in our success in SWA. After our return to Germany, Dan officiated our very first Memorial Ceremony, on Memorial Day 1991, honoring the 111 brave VII Corps Soldiers who gave “the last full measure of devotion.” This is a practice we continue to this day in conjunction with our annual reunion weekends where the names of the 111 Soldiers’ names are called, as part of our commitment to “never forget” their courageous sacrifice to our Nation and to uphold the concept of “never leaving a fallen comrade” as stated in our Soldiers Creed. I personally valued his extraordinary commitment and ministry to our Soldiers and leaders across the Corps and the valuable advice and judgment he provided me as Commander. Dan truly set the standard as a combat chaplain. Please see the tribute to Dan below written by Chaplain (COL, USA Retired) Dave O’Connell; our VII Corps DSVA Chaplain and a dear friend of Dan’s.  Please keep Dan and his family in your thoughts and prayers; God Bless this tremendous servant of God!

 

JAYHAWK!

Frederick M. Franks, Jr.

GEN, USA Retired

Chairman, VII Corps DSVA

__________________________________________________

Chaplain (COL) Daniel O. Davis

I was privileged to have known and ministered with Dan since 1979 when we were both assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division and then later with the VII Corps at Kelley Barracks in Stuttgart, Germany.  While there we deployed to OPERATION DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM; Dan as the VII Corps Chaplain and I as a Deputy Corps Chaplain. Dan was a wonderful Minister; he loved the God about whom he spoke so meaningfully, spiritually, and eloquently about. He lived the Gospel he preached, made it come alive, and spoke often about the “Living God.”  Dan’s congregation was an unusual parish, the parishioners being United States Army Soldiers. He spent his Ministry serving Soldiers and their Families. Dan cared for them and their welfare as deeply as he did their spiritual well-being. You see, those of us who worked with him knew that he was a genuine man of God. Dan was happiest when asked to speak at prayer breakfasts and loved being with Soldiers as such occasions gave him the opportunity to preach the word of God. He was a gifted storyteller, a gift he used to perfection. He was a good friend to me and a pleasure to work with especially during Desert Storm. He lived a great long life. On Christmas Day, the God whom he loved and served so faithfully called Dan home to be united with Jenny whom he had missed so since her death earlier this year. Dan was laid to rest on 6 January 2024 with full military honors, at Mandarin Cemetery, in Jacksonville, FL. Sleep well good and faithful servant.

 

David O’Connell

COL, USA Retired

Chaplain, VII Corps DSVA

 

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

12 May 2017: Military Spouse Day

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Tomorrow, on Friday 12 May 2017, the Army will celebrate Military Spouses Day as a part of the annual observance of National Military Appreciation Month.

During Desert Shield/Storm, the spouses of our soldiers stayed in Germany, committed to our mission, were part of the fabric our TEAM, and played an integral role in the success of VII Corps. The organization of spouses during our deployment became the precursor to today’s doctrinal Family Readiness Groups.

General Franks has asked us all to take time on Military Spouses Day to remember the particular role that the spouses of VII Corps soldiers played in the eventual success of our campaign in the desert 26 years ago.

JAYHAWK!

For more information on Military Spouses Day:

https://www.army.mil/standto/archive_2017-05-11/

National Desert Storm War Memorial letter writing campaign

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National Desert Storm War Memorial (logo)Do you think that Desert Storm should have its own memorial in our nation’s capital alongside the WWI, WWII, Vietnam, and Korea memorials?

Such a memorial is in the works and you can help by writing a letter to ensure that the memorial is built in the optimal location.

Background

The VII Corps Desert Storm Veterans Association Board, including General Fred Franks, has been working closely with our friends at the National Desert Storm War Memorial Association. This group is working tirelessly through the approval and funding efforts necessary for a Desert Storm Memorial to be built in Washington, D.C.

The Memorial has been authorized by Congress by way of enabling legislation that was signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2014. Additionally, President Donald Trump recently signed into law a resolution permitting the Memorial to be built in a “Prominent Area I Location” just like the existing memorials mentioned above.

The Next Step is Crucial

The list of possible locations has been narrowed from 100 down to two:

  • In Washington, D.C. at 23rd and Constitution – directly across from the US Institute of Peace and near the Lincoln Memorial and Vietnam Memorials (preferred)
  • Across the river in Arlington, D.C., adjacent to the Memorial Traffic Circle
National Desert Storm War Memorial site options
The two site options: The preferred site is outlined in white dashes in the Northeast portion of the photo

The National Capital Memorial Advisory Commission (NCMAC) is holding a hearing on 16 May 2017 to commence the final phase of the site selection process.

The VII Corps DSVA Board agrees with the National Desert Storm Memorial Association that the first option is, by far, the preferred location for our memorial.

“We have to be on the D.C. side of the Potomac River at 23rd and Constitution.”
General Fred Franks
VII Corps Commander during Desert Shield/Storm

The Letter Writing Campaign

The NCMAC is accepting letters of support for the 23rd & Constitution location from now until 2 May 2017. You can join Veterans of Desert Storm, military organizations, concerned citizens, as well as members of President Bush’s Cabinet in 1990-91 by adding your letter of support.

Instructions

  • Write a letter of support in your own words using the talking points and linked documents below.
  • Send the letter as an attachment (Word Document, PDF, scanned document) to glenn_demarr@nps.gov. Note that there is a distinction between an attachment and the body of an email. The letter must be an attachment to be considered a letter of support.
  • Share this page with fellow veterans and supporters of the VII Desert Storm Veterans Association.

Talking Points

  • The 23rd & Constitution location is near the National Mall and other popular D.C. attractions.
  • The less-preferred location in Arlington is also the future location of memorials for 21st Century conflicts Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. We feel that it is more appropriate for the Desert Storm Memorial to be built near the sites memorializing other 20th Century conflicts.
  • We feel that the proximity of the 23rd & Constitution location to the Vietnam Memorials is especially appropriate. General Franks and many other Desert Storm commanders also served in the Vietnam War.

For more details, please see the following documents:

MEMORIAL OVERVIEW FOR NCMAC HEARING

NCMAC LETTER WRITING CAMPAIGN SAMPLE LETTER AND GUIDELINES