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The commanders

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 20, 2003
Army Gen. Tommy Franks
Commander in chief of Central Command

Franks was assigned to the 9th Infantry Division in Vietnam and later got a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Texas, Arlington. He was posted to the Pentagon in 1976, serving as army inspector general in the investigations division and later headed congressional activities in the office of the Army Chief of Staff. Franks earned a master's degree in public administration at Shippensburg University in 1985. He was an assistant division commander with the 1st Calvary division in the Persian Gulf War and commanded the 2nd Infantry division in Korea in the mid 1990s. He also was a battalion commander in the 78th Field Artillery in Germany. Before Central Command, he was the commander of the 3rd Army at Fort McPherson, Ga.; Franks became chief of the Central Command in July 2000. CentCom is headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, but Franks is running the war out of a command center in Qatar. He was born June 17, 1945. He and his wife, Cathy, have a daughter, Jacqueline, and two grandchildren. Pastimes include country music, Mexican food, antiques and golf.

Lt. Gen. David McKiernan
Commander of U.S. Army Forces Central Command (ARCENT)

McKiernan assumed command of ARCENT and 3rd U.S. Army in 2002. Before that, he served as the Army's deputy chief of staff for operations in Washington, D.C. McKiernan entered the Army in 1972, receiving an ROTC commission from the College of William and Mary. He subsequently attended the U.S. Army War College. He served overseas in Korea, Germany and Bosnia-Herzegovina. McKiernan was attached to Headquarters, 7th Corps to run the Corps Tactical Command Post during Desert Shield and Desert Storm in 1990-91. Before his current assignment, he commanded the 1st Cavalry Division.

Lt. Gen. Earl Hailston
Commander, U.S. Marine Forces Central Command (MARCENT)

Hailston is also commander of Marine Corps forces, fleet forces and bases in the Pacific headquartered in Hawaii. His current assignment began August 2001. Hailston enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1967. In 1969 he served in Vietnam with the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division. He attended flight school in Pensacola, receiving his wings in 1973. He was assigned to the Air Command and Staff College in 1981 and while at Maxwell Air Force Base, completed his undergraduate degree at Troy State University. He later attended the U.S. Army War College. He commanded the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force and Marine Corps Bases in Japan from June 1999 to July 2001.

Vice Adm. Timothy Keating
Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT)

Keating assumed command of NAVCENT and the U.S. 5th Fleet in February 2002. The fleet is based in Bahrain. A native of Dayton, Ohio, Keating graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1971. He completed flight training in August 1973. He was deputy commander of a carrier air wing aboard the USS Saratoga during Operation Desert Storm. Keating served as commander of the Naval Strike Warfare Center in Fallon, Nev. He assumed command of Carrier Group 5, based in Japan in June 1998. In 2000, he was made deputy chief of Naval Operations for Plans, Policy and Operations in Washington. He has accumulated over 5,000 flight hours and 1,100 arrested landings.

Lt. Gen. Michael Moseley
Commander, U.S. Central Command Air Forces (CENTAF)

Moseley is also commander of the 9th Air Force Shaw Air Force Base, S.C. Before his present command, he was the director of the Air Force's legislative liaison office in Washington. Moseley graduated from Texas A&M University in 1971 with a bachelor of arts degree and earned a master's degree in 1972. He has commanded the F-15 Division of the USAF Fighter Weapons School at Nellis AFB, Nev., and the 33rd Operations Group at Eglin AFB (1992-1994). Moseley has served as director of operations for Joint Task Force-Southwest Asia, and commanded the 57th Fighter Weapons Wing at Nellis AFB. He is rated as a command pilot, with 2,800 flight hours, and was an instructor at the National War College.

Brig. Gen. Gary Harrell
Commander, Special Operations Command Central (SOCCENT)

A former member of the U.S. Army's elite and secretive Delta Force, Harrell has seen action in every major conflict of the last two decades -- from the invasion of Panama to the drug wars in Colombia, Operation Desert Storm, Somalia and Afghanistan, where he commanded U.S. Special Forces. Special Forces has been active in the hunt for Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, working in an unconventional coalition of military, intelligence, civilian and Afghan agents. Lt. Col. Harrell was the Delta mission commander during the "Black Hawk Down" incident in Oct. 1993 in which 18 American soldiers were killed in an assault on Somalia warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid's headquarters.

-- SOURCES: Associated Press, military Web sites

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