NFM SALUTE – November 2018
Master Sergeant Paul Franks, USA, Retired
MSG Franks joined the US Army out of Birmingham, Alabama in March 1984. After completing basic and individual training to become a Tactical Telecommunications Center Operator, he was assigned to the 24th Signal Battalion, Ft. Stewart, GA, providing vital communications support to the Commander of the 24th Infantry Division (M) headquarters. In February 1986 he was assigned to his first overseas post in Mannheim, Germany with the 97th Signal BN, Central Army Group NATO. He was responsible in providing communications support for the CENTAG commander at his Primary War Headquarters to his field commanders. In 1990, MSG Franks was assigned to the 501st MI Bn at Ft. Lewis, WA in support of the I Corps Commander during Desert Storm. The following year he moved to the I Corps Headquarters, G-6, where he was assigned as a Communications Security (COMSEC) NCO for the Corps. In 1992 MSG Franks was assigned to the Joint COMSEC Logistics Office in Pusan, South Korea, where he was responsible for providing COMSEC material throughout the ASIA Pacific region. After this tour he went back to Ft. Lewis to be assigned to the 1st Special Forces Group (A).
From 1992 through 1998, MSG Franks was deployed to numerous Southeast Asia countries, including eight deployments to the Kingdom of Thailand and Indonesia, where he provided communications support and taught indigenous forces American war-fighting techniques. During this time, he deployed to two Joint Task Force 6 drug interdiction missions in both Texas and Florida. He also completed numerous military schools and training, such as Basic Airborne school, Special Forces Static Line Jump Master course, Special Forces Communications school, SERE High-Risk Level C survival school, and the Air Force Load Master course. After this high demanding assignment, MSG Franks was assigned to the Allied Naval Forces Europe Headquarters in Naples, Italy to be the Circuit Control NCOIC responsible for setting up and coordinating ship to shore communications for the Admiral in charge, allowing him to communicate to his Commanders of the Sixth Mediterranean Fleet. He was instrumental in setting up the communications between the Headquarters and the Fleet in support of numerous exercises and real-world conflicts, such as the war efforts during the Bosnia conflict.
After this tour of duty, in 2000 MSG Franks was reassigned back to the US to the 5th Special Forces Group(A) S-6 at Ft Campbell, KY. 9/11 took place during his time at 5th Group, at which point he helped coordinate all aspects of secure communications between the Special Operations Joint Task Force-Dagger Headquarters and 5th Group ODA Teams on the ground in Afghanistan and surrounding areas. Once redeploying from Afghanistan in 2002, he went right into getting the Group Headquarters and ODA Teams ready on secure communications for Operation Iraqi Freedom, which kicked off in the Fall of 2002.
MSG Franks received orders to the 101st Airborne Division (A) Headquarters G-6 in November 2003, in which he was in charge of the Division Automation Management Office. He deployed to the Division’s Headquarters in Mosul, Iraq shortly afterwards and through the end of March 2004 he oversaw the Division’s Automation circuits for the war fighting campaign. Once redeploying back to the states, MSG Franks helped coordinate the Division’s complete automation communications transformation, so the Division had the cutting-edge communication capabilities needed for future war-fighting into the 21st century.
MSG Franks retired in July 2005 after over 22 years of dedicated service to his country. He achieved numerous awards and badges, including the Joint Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with numeral 3, Army Commendation Medal with numeral 5, Army Achievement Medal with numeral 6, Master Parachutist Badge, and the Expert Marksmanship Badge for rifle and pistol. He currently resides in Clarksville, TN.
MSG Franks was nominated by his daughter, Rebecca.
“He’s been on some incredible adventures. The hard work, dedication, and sacrifices that he made also afforded my family the opportunity to travel and live all over the world.”