Profile: General Tommy Franks
general tommy franks

General Tommy Franks – A modern day cigar-smoking bad-ass. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Creative Commons.

Let’s break into the modern era of cigar smoking military badasses, shall we? Enter in General Tommy Franks, or as I like to call him, “Frank and Beans,” because let’s face it, this guy’s got a pair bigger than the Rock of Gibraltar. The only time this guy quit anything was college when he was still young. But that didn’t stop him from re-enrolling through the military and earning his Bachelors of Business Administration in 1971 and his Master of Science in Public Administration, so we don’t even consider that quitting. From there, he was a military rock star, serving in Vietnam, the Gulf War, and overseeing the war on terror, thus ultimately leading his troops to the capture and overthrow of Saddam Hussein – after which, he smoked a cigar at the ousted leader’s desk in the newly liberated mansion. Like I said – Bad. Ass.

The Wynnewood, Oklahoma native enlisted into the army in the year 1965 and attended Basic Training at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri, training as a Cryptologic Analyst at Advanced Individual Training at Fort Devens, Massachusetts. What’s more impressive is his military career. In Vietnam, he was assigned to the US 9th Infantry Division where he served as Forward observer, Aerial observer, and Assistant S-3 with 2nd Battalion, 4th Field Artillery. Upon returning home, he went back to Fort Sill where he commanded a cannon battery. His resume only got more impressive when he was posted to the Pentagon as Army Inspector General in 1976, and in 1977 he was assigned to the Office of the Chief of Staff where he served on the Congressional Activities Team as an Executive Assistant.

In 1981, he commanded 2nd Battalion, 78th Field Artillery for three years in Germany where he then assumed command of Division Artillery, 1st Cavalry Division while also serving as Chief of Staff, 1st Cavalry Division. He then became Assistant Commandant of the Field Artillery School at Fort Sill, and then became first director, Louisiana Maneuvers Task Force, Office of Chief of Staff of the Army during Desert Storm. After being transferred to Korea in 2000, he was promoted to general and assigned as Commander in Chief, United States Central Command.

Wow, my fingers are close to bleeding from typing all that and my head is about to burst just from researching Ol’ Frank and Beans. I left out a LOT of what command he held thus far, simply for the sake of my poor fingers and length requirements. However, the story doesn’t end there. As general, he oversaw the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, the overthrow of the Taliban government, the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and eventual overthrow of Saddam Hussein. That’s when he went to Saddam’s desk and lit up a victory stogie. However, he does not believe that taking down Saddam was a pivotal moment in the war in the Middle East, as much work still to this very day needs to be done.

His deeds have not gone unnoticed either. He was awarded the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Army Distinguished Service Medal, 4 Legion of Merits, 5 Bronze Stars, 3 Purple Hearts, 9 Air Medals, the Army Commendation Medal, the Presidential Medal of Freedom (highest civilian medal available, earned after his retirement from the Army), and even received the Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

But aside from being probably the busiest guy to ever swan dive into the military and essentially running the war in the Middle East, he’s been known to smoke a fine stogie here and there. He became interested in cigars by around 4th grade as he watched his uncle smoke King Edward Cigars with his friends. He instantly became enamored with the class and civility it represented. General Franks started smoking what we all most likely did, Tampa Jewels and Tampa Nuggets; however his traveling with the Army took him all over where he truly became immersed in the cigar experience. Like the strong military tactician he was, he loves analyzing flavors and aromas of cigars and finds them relaxing. In a quote from Cigar Aficionado, he reflects “during the course of the Iraq war, on a number of occasions, I’d sit outside in a number of Middle Eastern countries and just sit by myself and smoke a cigar. You know, I find that it’s possible to spend a little too much time talking and not enough time thinking.”

So, as we recap the greatest American (and Winston Churchill) military leaders to have ever roamed God’s green earth, we simply cannot forget the efforts of this modern day hero. General Tommy Franks should certainly be commended for his whopping 38 years of dedicated service to our great nation. That is why we at Famous Smoke Shop light a cigar and salute this true American Hero.