GEN Fred Franks and CSM Harold Shrewsberry: wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns

2021 Memorial Day Message from GEN Fred M. Franks (USA-Ret)

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Desert Storm VII Corps Veterans and your Families,

On this Memorial Day Monday 31 May 2021, this special day in America, we honor and remember all our men and women who died in military service to our Nation. On this most special and sacred day, in this our 30th Anniversary year of our Victory in Desert Storm that as part of the Coalition 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, and together 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.”

We said at the end of Desert Storm over 30 years ago that “we will forever remember” and we have remembered our VII Corps Fallen. This year as you know because of COVID restrictions in Virginia, we held a combined virtual 30th Anniversary Reunion and Memorial Service 1 May of our victory in 1991.

Faithful to that promise and as we do at each Reunion, we held that Memorial Service 1 May, conducted by Chaplain Col (ret) Dave O’Connell, where our past Association President MG (ret) John Altenburg called out each of the names of our Fallen one by one as he has each year. One of our former commanders gives commander remarks as is right at these ceremonies. This year Col (ret) John Gingrich, Wartime Commander of 4th Battalion, 5th Field Artillery, Division Artillery, 1st Infantry Division, gave thoughtful, moving, and inspiring remarks.

We had intended to commemorate our 30th Anniversary this year by laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in honor of our 111 Fallen in VII Corps as we had done at our 25th Reunion. That was not possible due to COVID restrictions. Not to be denied we decided to lay wreaths on 30 April at the gravesites of two of our Fallen in Arlington National Cemetery to honor them and all of our Fallen. Our two Fallen there in Arlington are: ROBERT DAUGHERTY, 5/16 Infantry as part of TF 2-34 Armor, 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, The Big Red One, and JOSEPH KIME, HHC, 1st Brigade, 3d Armored Division, Spearhead. The ceremony was coordinated by Board member Wartime VII Corps G-5 Col (ret) Art Hotop, with remarks by 1st Infantry Division wartime commander LTG (ret) Tom Rhame, and by past VII Corps DSVA President and VII Corps Wartime 1st AD SJA, MG (ret) John Altenburg. Other attendees were Board Members VII Corps Veteran Col (ret) Jay Waters, and wartime Corps Artillery CSM, CSM (ret) Harold Shrewsberry, and VII Corps wartime ACE, and former DSVA Treasurer LTC (ret) Bob Candido.

In these continuing demanding times this year of 2021 on this day that has become sacred in America all across our great Nation, may we all pause in our own way this Memorial Day 2021 in deep remembrance to honor and remember our own Fallen and 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. We are planning our in-person 31st Reunion the weekend of 24-27 February 2022 in Washington DC at the Crystal Gateway Marriott and Ft. Myer, VA Chapel and perhaps even the new Army Museum with details to follow. Blessings this Memorial Day to all of you to stay well and remain in contact with each other.

JAYHAWK!!

General Fred Franks (signature)

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

VII Corps DSVA 30th Anniversary Celebration

May 1: VII Corps DSVA 30th Anniversary Celebration

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TEAM JAYHAWK: As I relayed to you on 6 April, we made the decision to conduct our 30th Anniversary Celebration virtually instead of in-person this year. As you might imagine, this was not an easy decision to make in light of the significant milestone that the 30th Anniversary is. However, your VII Corps DSVA Board of Directors thought this to be the safest COA for all involved.

Toward that end, here is the link for the Zoom meeting:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83191511128

The ceremony will begin promptly at 1300 EDT on Saturday, 1 May with some pre-ceremonial music playing starting at approximately 1245 EDT. We request that all personnel be logged on NLT 1300 EDT in order to support an on-time start. The ceremony should take approximately one hour and will consist of live speakers, recorded comments, and plenty of wonderful Army Band music! As it is our custom to do, we will call the roll and announce the names of our 111 VII Corps War Dead.

Please let me know if you have any questions regarding the ceremony; we look forward to coming together as a group on Saturday.

JAYHAWK!

v/r rado

MARK A. RADO
Colonel, USA Retired
President, VII Corps DSVA

Full text of the invitation:

You are invited to a Zoom webinar.
When: May 1, 2021 01:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Topic: VII Corps DSVA 30th Anniversary Celebration

Please click the link below to join the webinar:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83191511128
Or One tap mobile :
US: +13462487799,,83191511128# or +12532158782,,83191511128#
Or Telephone:
Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
US: +1 346 248 7799 or +1 253 215 8782 or +1 669 900 6833 or +1 929 205 6099 or +1 301 715 8592 or +1 312 626 6799
Webinar ID: 831 9151 1128
International numbers available: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kbWQSZmjXS

Then-Lieutenant General Fred Franks during Desert Storm

30th Anniversary Commemoration of Desert Storm to all VII Corps Desert Storm Veterans And Families

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Today, 24 February, marks the day 30 years ago when we began our attack to destroy the RGFC in our sector of attack and as part of the Coalition to liberate Kuwait. Time does not dim the memory of your skill, courage, and selfless sacrifice in our rapid 250 kilometer, 89-hour mounted armored combined arms attack that, as part of the Coalition 24-28 February 1991, won a great victory and accomplished that mission.

The battle VII Corps fought day and night on 26-28 February 1991 in Southeast Iraq and Northern Kuwait was the largest tank battle in the history of the US Army. It was an attack of historic proportions over distances and at speeds unmatched, in sandstorms and rain, day and night. It was made possible by the extraordinary courage, skill, disciplined teamwork and fierce, no quit grit and will to win of all of you, soldiers and leaders. It was fast but it was not easy.

I want to say thanks with deep affection and respect how enormously proud I am of all soldiers and leaders, all 146,000, in VII Corps and what we all did together 30 years ago, as well as to all of your families who served with their own brand of courage in Germany and the USA.

We continue to remember and honor the 111 of VII Corps who died from all causes who, in Lincoln’s words, ‘gave that last full measure of devotion’, and we remember their families.

Today, on the eve of our ground attack 30 years ago, I remember deeply what an honor it was to serve in your ranks and to lead VII Corps into battle. Truly life’s great and humbling privilege. JAYHAWK!!

General Fred Franks (signature)

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

VII Corps DSVA 30th Anniversary Reunion Weekend Rescheduled

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TEAM JAYHAWK: We wanted to give you some feedback based on our last letter to you and the follow on Executive Board meeting held on 14 November 2020. Acting in an abundance of caution, your Board of Directors made the decision to hold our 30th Anniversary Reunion Weekend later in the Spring (29 Apr – 2 May 2021; Crystal Gateway Marriott; Arlington, VA)) vs. our traditional February dates which historically have coincided with the conduct of the Ground War in 1991.

Our decision was largely based on feedback received from you; our membership. We truly appreciate your taking the time to give us this important feedback. We had a very strong response rate to our survey; we’ll use the information gathered as we continue planning the event. Our first order of planning business, was to re-secure our Dinner Guest Speaker; GEN James C. McConville, the 40th Chief of Staff of the Army! We are proud to announce that his busy calendar still support his ability to be with us as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of our Coalition victory in the Gulf!

Please keep an eye on our website (desertstormvets.org) and our Facebook page for more information, but we wanted to get this out to you for planning purposes soonest.

We hope that each of you and your families had a lovely and safe Thanksgiving; we are very thankful for your membership in the VII Corps DSVA and for your incredible service in ODS/DS 30 years ago!

Best wishes for the upcoming holiday season; please stay safe…. JAYHAWK!

General Fred Franks (signature)

FREDERICK M. FRANKS, JR.
General, USA Retired
Chairman, VII Corps DSVA

MARK A. RADO
Colonel, USA Retired
President, VII Corps DSVA

Veterans Day 2020 Message from GEN Fred Franks (USA-Ret)

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

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 11 November 2020. We hope this message finds you well.

This is our 30th Anniversary year. Just three days before Veterans Day 1990 on 8 November, when we received our no notice order to deploy to Saudi Arabia, to our rapid 250 kilometer 89-hour mounted armored combined arms attack as part of the Coalition 24-28 February 1991, that liberated Kuwait, to our six week occupation and humanitarian mission, 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.

As these years pass, I continue to treasure 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 30 years.

Across America, we honor on this Veterans Day, this special day in America, 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.

The continuing battle with COVID-19 has caused us, as you know from our recent survey we sent you, to weigh different options about our 30th Reunion. We value your input and response to that survey. Those three options are: 1) execute as planned 25-28 February 2021; 2) postpone until later in spring 2021 late April or early May; and 3) postpone until 2022. We will discuss those this Saturday 14 November taking counsel from your input and let you know.

All the best to each of you and your Families this 2020 Veterans Day.

JAYHAWK!

General Fred Franks (signature)

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

2020 Memorial Day Message from GEN Fred M. Franks (USA-Ret)

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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 this Memorial Day 25 May 2020, this special day in America we honor and remember all our men and women who died in military service to our Nation. On this most special and sacred day, 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, and together 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.”

This year at our 29th Anniversary Reunion 21-23 February 2020 at Ft. Myer, VA and the Crystal Gateway Marriott, VA, of our victory in 1991, and as we do at each Reunion, at the Memorial Chapel there next to Arlington National Cemetery, Chaplain, Colonel (ret) Wayne Lehrer, assisted by 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 commanders gives commander remarks as is right at these ceremonies. This year Col (ret) Greg Fontenot, Wartime Commander of TF 2-34 Armor, 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, gave thoughtful, moving, and inspiring remarks.

We said at the end of Desert Storm over 29 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.

Yet, these are unique and unprecedented times now for our Nation this Memorial Day 2020. Battling to defeat this scourge of a COVID-19 virus, these pandemic virus times have demanded much of our Nation and all of us across our Nation and in our VII Corps Veteran Family and your own Families. We admire and are deeply grateful for all our health care professionals, some perhaps from our own ranks of VII Corps Veterans as well as all those in our Armed Forces and those of you at home who are serving with such courage and devotion on the front lines to defeat this virus. Blessings to them and to all of you and your Families in our VII Corps Veteran Family and your own Families to stay well.

So in these demanding times this year of 2020, on this day that has become sacred in America all across our great Nation and especially in these unique and life challenging times of defeating this virus pandemic, may we all pause in our own way this Memorial Day 2020 in deep remembrance to honor and remember our own Fallen and 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. We are still planning our 30th Reunion the weekend of 25-28 February 2021 in Washington DC at the Crystal Gateway Marriott and Ft. Myer, VA Chapel and perhaps even the new Army Museum with details to follow. We look forward to seeing many of you there at this special 30th Anniversary Reunion. Blessings to all of you to stay well and remain in contact with each other.

JAYHAWK!!

General Fred Franks (signature)

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

Veterans Day 2019 Message from Gen Fred Franks (USA-Ret)

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VII Corps Veterans and Families,

We join with all across America, to honor on this Veterans Day 2019, this special day in America, now in this special commemorative month of November, all those who selflessly served our Nation and what we stand for.

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 2019. From 8 November 1990 when we received our no notice order to deploy to Saudi Arabia, to our rapid 250 kilometer 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. Your selfless service accomplished all that in VII Corps with the greatest skill gained from our training, and your courage, discipline, teamwork, and yes, sacrifice. Our deep 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 29 years.

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 29th Annual Reunion this year in Washington D.C. at the Crystal Gateway Marriott and Ft. Myer, VA Chapel 21-23 February 2020. 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 29th Reunion.

JAYHAWK!

General Fred Franks (signature)

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

D-Day 75th Anniversary

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On 6 June 2019 all the world and here in America will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the land, sea, and air attacks, with assault landings of American, British and Canadian forces on beaches in Normandy, France that began the liberation of Western Europe and the beginning of the end of WWII in Europe. That day US forces landed two divisions on Omaha Beach and VII Corps landed one division on Utah Beach and two divisions made airborne assaults behind enemy defenses as part of that US VII Corps assault on Utah Beach. General Eisenhower that day said to those in that Allied Expeditionary Force, “the eyes of the world are upon you. the hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you.”

All of us in VII Corps DSVA and VII Corps Desert Storm veterans everywhere on this 75th anniversary of those historic landings, connect through the generations to all those that day whose intrepid courage, great skill, and selfless sacrifice began the liberation of Europe from Nazi tyranny. We especially connect to those VII Corps veterans of June 6, 1944 Utah Beach assault landings and airborne assaults that historic day and the 1st Inf Div who assaulted Omaha Beach. We honor their valor and selfless sacrifice, those who died that day in those assaults, those who have died since their service, and those living today. We salute and honor them all and their families this day and everyday.

JAYHAWK!

General Fred Franks (signature)

Fred M. Franks, Jr.
Gen, US Army (ret)
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,

On this 27 May 2019, Memorial Day, this special day now sacred in America we honor and remember all our men and women who died in military service to our Nation. On this most special and sacred day, 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 as 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.”

This year at our 28th Anniversary Reunion 22-24 February 2019 in Ft. Hood Texas of our victory in 1991, and as we do at each Reunion, at the Soldier Memorial Chapel there, Chaplain Col (ret) Dave O’Connell, conducted a military Memorial Service, 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 right at these ceremonies. This year LTG (ret) Randy House war time commander of 2d Brigade (Black Jack Brigade)) 1st Cavalry Division, gave inspiring and deeply moving remarks.

That same day 23 February 2019 at Ft. Hood we also visited and paced a wreath in a ceremony at our Memorial Tree, dedicated last year at Ft. Hood as an everlasting Memorial to remember and honor our own Fallen.

We said at the end of Desert Storm over 28 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, some recently, including this past year, our wartime Commander In Chief President George H. W. Bush and our former 1st AD Commander Gen (ret) Ron Griffith.

May we all pause in our own way this Memorial Day 2019 in deep remembrance to honor and remember our own Fallen and 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 29th anniversary Reunion the weekend of 21-23 February 2020 In Washington DC with details to follow.

JAYHAWK!!

General Fred Franks (signature)

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

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!