BRIAN LAMB, HOST: Tom Clancy, can you remember the very first moment you thought you had a book in "A Study in Command"?
MR. TOM CLANCY, CO-AUTHOR, "INTO THE STORM: A STUDY IN COMMAND"
No, it was sort of a gradual process. Fred and I got to know each
other back in 1981 sort of by accident. I had a little friend
back then, his--a little boy, his name was Kyle, and he was seven
years old, and he was--he had cancer. He ultimately died of it,
unfortunately. And along way, he had his left leg surgically removed,
and I knew we had a senior officer over in the Persian Gulf who had
also lost a leg. And I asked if--through an intermediary, if--Major
General Bill Stoft, if this officer would send a letter of
encouragement to my little buddy. And Fred stepped up to the
plate and did a very nice job of that.
And we sort of became pals as a result and started talking back and
forth. And finally, I decided that maybe people should learn what
it's--you know, what it's like to be a general: What are the demands?
What are the things you have to do to be successful at it? And that's
really the genesis of this project.
LAMB: How many of these you going to do?
MR. CLANCY: A total of four.
LAMB: And what will the other three be?
MR. CLANCY: No, I never talk about works in progress.
LAMB: But will they be other books about command?
MR. CLANCY: Yes.
LAMB: And, General Franks, looking back on the--you talk about
it in your book a lot--that day in--back in Vietnam at--is it
pronounced Schneuel or Schneuel?
GENERAL FRED FRANKS, CO-AUTHOR, "INTO THE STORM: A STUDY IN COMMAND" Schneuel.
LAMB: Where is it?
GEN. FRANKS: It's in Cambodia. It's about 20, 25 miles--about 30,
35 kilometers inside Cambodia from the South Vietnamese border.
LAMB: What happened that day, and what date was it?
GEN. FRANKS: That was May the 5th, 1970. Never forget it. It was a
day we had been--we attacked into Cambodia as part of the whole
strategic spoiling attack at the time. And one thing led to another;
we were attacking North Vietnamese, we thought--intelligence said two
regiments around the town of Schneuel. I was in the helicopter. My
squadron commander, Gray L. Brookshire, was on the ground along with
the regimental commander, Don Starry, and I was moving in a helicopter
to help the squadron maneuver--time was of the essence--and flew over
an anti-aircraft position that was manned.
I kicked out a smoke grenade, marked it; forces came over and
wanted to--I landed because we wanted to talk to the prisoners because
we knew there were a lot of civilians in the area, and we wanted to
attack the North Vietnamese forces who were there without damage to
the town and without harming civilians. So intelligence from the
enemy was important. And while trying to get one of the North
Vietnamese soldiers out of a bunker in a hurry, and with some other
soldiers pulling away some logs and so forth from in front of the
bunker, the North Vietnamese threw a hand grenade out and landed next
to my foot. Don Starry, who was the regimental commander, saw that,
pushed me partially out of the way, and it went off. And that ended
the war for me, Brian, started a--started me on a long road back.
LAMB: How much did that day impact his life, from what you've gotten
to know him over the last couple of years?
MR. CLANCY: Well, it ruined his football career. I don't know.
It-- there's an old Greek aphorism they taught us in Jesuit school,
you know, `If you don't suffer, you'll never learn.' Well, he suffered
quite a bit and he learned quite a bit. I don't know. You know, in a
way--I've never really said this--if--Fred is kind of a symbol of what
happened to the US--I mean, he is the US Army, in that sense. I mean,
it got--the Army got clobbered pretty hard in Vietnam. We killed off
our NCO corps. People blamed the Army for getting us into Vietnam,
which, of course, happened--you know, that was Lyndon Johnson and
Robert McNamara, not the Army itself. And like the Army, Fred had to
learn to walk again, but he did and, you know, went from major to
four-star, which ain't half-bad, is it, Fred?
GEN. FRANKS: I had a lot of help, Tom.
MR. CLANCY: Yeah, right.
LAMB: How often has someone been a four-star and had a missing leg
from a war?
GEN. FRANKS: I don't know, Brian, without checking the history. I...
MR. CLANCY: Ward Nelson...
GEN. FRANKS: Yeah, OK.
MR. CLANCY: ...lost an arm and an eye.
GEN. FRANKS: I don't think in the US military, I can't recall I've seen...
LAMB: Do you ever run into anybody today--either one of you--today in the
military that had a missing limb?
GEN. FRANKS: Yes, sir. My G-3 in Gulf War, Colonel--now Brigadier
General Stan Cherry is an amputee. He and I were together at Valley
MR. CLANCY: What'd he lose?
GEN. FRANKS: General Rick Shensekki, who was a deputy chief of staff
for operations, lieutenant general now, is missing part of a foot from
Vietnam. So the Army--indeed, all the services, are permitted to
retain members on active duty who have otherwise physically
disqualifying characteristics. That was started, Brian, back in the
'50s by George Marshall when he was secretary of defense and his
assistant secretary, Anna Rosenberg, who, on a visit to West Point,
met a--Colonel Red Reeder, who's a friend of mine, who had lost a
leg as a result of commanding the 12th Infantry and the 4th Infantry
Division at Utah Beach. And Marshall turned to Mrs. Rosenberg and
said, `Here's the officer I was telling you about. And if our
policies were different, he could have stayed on active duty.' And she
got the policies changed, and since that time, it's been possible.
LAMB: I want to come back to this in a moment. But I want to ask Tom
Clancy: If somebody hasn't seen this book yet and haven't heard you
talk about it, give us just a brief synopsis. What do they get in
MR. CLANCY: Well, it's--it's fundamentally a study in command. You
know, --what it's like to be a general, how hard it is to learn
the business and how hard it is to execute the mission, you know,
un--under combat conditions. It's a story of how the Army was rebuilt
from--you know, from the 1970s through the 1980s. And it's a story of
a genuine American hero.
LAMB: How did you put it together?
MR. CLANCY: Well, the same--you know, you write a book by
popping the keys one at a time till you get to the end.
LAMB: No, but how did you get the information? How did you two come
MR. CLANCY: Well, the research was easy in this case, because, you
know, Fred had--you know, this is all what--stuff Fred really did, so
just a matter of, you know, him--his recollections and--and consulting
his notes very thoroughly and getting s--a couple documents
declassified. But, you know, that's Fred's--can tell you more about
that than I can.
LAMB: When did you start this specific project?
MR. CLANCY: It's been 18 months ago, thereabouts.
GEN. FRANKS: Yes. Right after I retired, Brian, I--Tom and I had a
lot of discussions, began research, began to do some writing, putting
notes together. A lot of things I was personal witness to, of course,
but other things I wasn't, so there was a lot of research into books,
papers, the Army --of the '70s, Vietnam and then official Army
records from the Gulf War that are now available.
LAMB: Some chapters have the--General Franks' voice and some have
yours. How did you decide to do that, and did you...
MR. CLANCY: Well, that was--that was sort of the editor more than
anything else deciding how we were going to make it work. And
it's Neil Aaron, the guy who--the same editor I work with with my
novels. And Neil will tell you we both take direction fairly
LAMB: Did you write it all?
MR. CLANCY: Oh, yeah. Sure, yeah. It's--I mean, it's sort of--it's
a--it's a joint effort. Well, o--well, obviously, all the
first-person stuff is Fred with a little bit of my editing, and some
of the third-person stuff is me with his editing. So we were both
kind of crossing the line quite a bit on this.
LAMB: And as I remember, you've not spent any time in the military,
MR. CLANCY: No, no, not with these eyes. I can't even be a target.
LAMB: Go back to the leg accident. What happened to you on that day
in Cambodia? Where did you go from there?
GEN. FRANKS: I was medically evacuated, Brian, with other soldiers
who were wounded there. We were--matter of fact, our aircraft was
taking some fire as we--we left the area. Then I went through a
series of hospitals with surgery at every one, spent a week in Japan
at Camp Czana at the military hospital, along with a lot of other
soldiers who were badly wounded, some a lot worse than I.
LAMB: How old were you at the time?
GEN. FRANKS: I was 33. And went from there to a--medically
evacuated to McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey, spent the night
there, where my wife and daughter--wife Denise, daughter Margie
and friends of ours--Betsy Hessler drove the three and a half,
four hours, found their way in the middle of the night to come over
and visit me there. And then was medically evacuated to Valley
Forge and spent the better part of 21 months at Valley Forge, went
through a series of operations for the first seven months there at
Valley Forge. And essentially, my family and I--my wife Denise,
daughter Margie and I went through what we have termed the `Valley
Forge experience' in our lives, which--taken after the Valley Forge of
the Continental Army in--in the winter of '77, '78 in the
LAMB: You say in the book that at the--at that age and at Valley
Forge, that you not only had the problem with rehabilitation of your
leg, but your wife had all kinds of problems.
GEN. FRANKS: Well, we lost two children in infancy
right after birth. And so it was a difficult time in our
lives, Brian. It was what I call a `Valley Forge experience.' I think in a sense,
everyone in their lives undergoes a Valley Forge experience. None of us goes
looking for trouble in our lives, but it finds most of us. And how we deal with that,
how we look inside of ourselves, how we find the steel inside of ourselves and gain in wisdom
from that and then go on and--and build a life based on what you have, not what
you don't have. And we learned that day by day. And we resolved to go on from
there, and--and we have.
And now my daughter is married to an Army officer, and they have three
splendid children of their own, Jake and Mickey and Denise, named
after my wife Denise. And my wife and I now celebrate our 38th
wedding anniversary. We were married three days after I graduated
from West Point. So we've been blessed in a lot of ways.
LAMB: Have you ever had a Valley Forge in your life?
MR. CLANCY: In a manner of speaking, you know. Not as tough as
what Fred and Denise went through, but, you know, it happens
to us all.
LAMB: And w--how did you deal with it when it happened?
MR. CLANCY: You do what you got to do, Brian. I mean, you
just--you--there are times when you just like to run away, but you
can't run away from life. You just--you do what you got to do.
LAMB: When you talked about this situation, was it hard to get--I
mean, there's a lot in here on this--the life part of this. Was
it hard to get it out of the general?
MR. CLANCY: Oh, you know, the difference between Fred
and Rambo is that Fred's a real tough guy and Rambo's
just a creation of the movies. And he talks. If you ask questions,
he gives you answers.
LAMB: You have a saying that I must have read--I don't know--at least
a dozen times, maybe not that many in the book: `Don't worry,
General. We trust you.'
GEN. FRANKS: Yes. I was--that was deliberately repeated in the
book, Brian. I believe it was about two weeks before we attacked
into Iraq, and I was visiting the 3rd Armored Division, commanded by
General Butch Funk, and talking to one of the soldiers, explaining our
LAMB: What we did--let me interrupt and just ask: What were you
doing there in the Iraqi situ--what was your job?
GEN. FRANKS: I was the 7th Corps commander, which was one of two
corps, 18th Corps being the other, in 3rd Army, which was then--3rd
Army reported directly to General Schwarzkopf. The 7th Corps is
designated the main attack in the ground attack. We were one of
essentially five ground corps in the ground attack. So I was out
visiting soldiers. I like being around soldiers; I get strength and
inspired by visiting them. And I was out talking to a soldier in the
3rd Armored Division, explaining our attack maneuver, how we were
going to go around to the outside of the Iraqi defenses. And the
soldier stopped me and said, `Don't worry, General. We trust you.'
And that, in an instant, made me a little weak in the knees and a
little--brought some tears to my eyes to--to look at that soldier.
And that bond of trust, in an instant, captured, for me, the
basic bond of leadership between soldiers and military leaders,
soldiers and political leaders, those determining our strategic
objectives. And that bond of trust--that was fractured during Vietnam
and reunited here during Desert Storm. And we've tried to capture
that in the book.
LAMB: Trust--have--a lot of people have read your books about the
military. You've thought a lot about it, talk a lot about it. How
much trust is there, and when was it at the worst, and what is it like
MR. CLANCY: Well, probably it--at its worst during Vietnam because
the--you know, the breach of trust happened at the highest levels.
President Johnson, Secretary McNamara and, unfortunately, some of
the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the time really violated the
contract they're supposed to have with the--you know, the
privates --and the special--spec force carrying rifles and going into harm's way.
Loyalty has to be bilateral. It's got to--it's got to go up, and it's got to come
back down. Otherwise, you know, sooner or later, the system's going
to come apart. And the trust was violated in the most fundamental way
We-- sent them--the US Army--well, the whole US military to
Vietnam without having an objective, without having a plan, without
having a goal, without knowing what the hell we were doing there. And
we ended up getting, you know, over 50,000 kids killed for--for not
very much. It wasn't the fault of the military; it was the fault of
the political leadership that sent them there. And that was--and that
was the breach of trust.
LAMB: What about the big--the big question about the impact of
Vietnam on this country? What are some of the things you've seen
happen since that day?
MR. CLANCY: Fundamentally, in a long-term political sense, I
think it destroyed the faith of the people, partic--and the media
in particular, with the higher levels of government. You know,
Watergate came soon thereafter, and I don't think--you know, the
distance that the temporal difference between the--you know,
it's 10 years between John F. Kennedy being president and Watergate
happening. And Watergate could not have happened under the presidency
of Jack Kennedy; I mean, otherwise, somebody would have exposed the
fact that, you know, Chic--Illinois was--fell into the
Democratic category because if--somebody committed a series of
federal felonies in what's now called voter fraud.
But when Lyndon Johnson broke faith with the--with the military, he
broke faith with the American people in s--in sending our sons
and daughters off to Vietnam for no good reason. That changed
the whole way in which Americans and, again,
particularly the media, looked at government. And so that's been the
lo--you know, a really long-term piece of--of heavy damage to our
Secondly, the-- short--well, short- to medium-term damage was
done to the military, because the military ended up being blamed for
what was happening over there, which is about as fair as blaming
doctors for cancer, OK? I mean, we had people coming home from--from
Vietnam and they were being called baby killers and being spat upon
when they didn't wake up in the morning and decide, `Let's go kill
some Asians.' They were--you know, the president of the United States
said get--you know, `Pack up, take your--take your weapon and go.' And
if there was a baby--you know, if there was a baby killer involved, it
was LBJ. It wasn't--the--these guys did what they were told because
they swore an oath to do what they were told. And the--if--if there's
a--if there's a weakness in the military, sometimes they're just too
loyal. But under our constitutional system, I mean, it can't be any
LAMB: What impact did Vietnam have on you...
GEN. FRANKS: Well...
LAMB: ...besides the obvious?
GEN. FRANKS: A profound impact, Brian. We talked about the trust
issue; certainly, that. But, secondly, the--the bond between
soldiers, seeing the great young Americans of that generation, who
essentially were the sons and daughters of the World War II
generation, who also went and did what our country asked with great
heroism and sacrifice in World War II. And these were the--in the
11th Cavalry, these were the sons of the World War II generation who
embraced duty, honor, country, who went and did what our country
asked. And I saw them day after day in combat with courage and
toughness and great sacrifice, themselves and their friends, go do
what our country asked. And that had profound effect to see that, to
see their courage and to see the fractured trust.
Beyond that, I served with great commanders, troop commanders,
non-commission officers. I saw the--the intense teamwork of combat.
I served with squadron commander Gray L. Brookshire, regimental
commanders Jimmy Leach, Don Starry. And I saw the great teamwork and
what worked in combat, and that the preparation and the hard, tough
preparation and training in peacetime and how that results in
battlefield success. And here it's the fundamentals, the idea
that when you're committed to a fight, then you need to use
all disciplined use of the means at your disposal to win as rapidly as
possible at least cost to your soldiers. I say in the book, `When
you're committed, then you need---then the right score, the right
outcome is about 100-to-nothing.' The sports analogies stop once the
LAMB: You know, there have been a lot of press about an incidence in
the military--all the services--about cheating at the academy or
adultery with generals all the way down to, you know, sergeants and
all that. Any of that come out of Vietnam?
MR. CLANCY: Brian, the boys and girls are going to be boys and girls
regardless of where they are and all this stuff. And the Army
has had this problem at Aberdeen where a couple of drill sergeants
have seemed to have misbehaved rather badly, and--well, I
mean, un--under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, felonies were
committed. Well, OK, the Army's dealing with it fairly well. The way
you deal with a crime is you investigate, you indict, you prosecute
and you convict or acquit, and then you--if the person's
convicted, you sentence a--sentence them to prison. And the Army's
done that. Beyond that, I'd suggest that before people come
down on the military too hard, I sa--we got I guess--What?--a million
people in the--in the service right now, Fred?
GEN. FRANKS: In all the services.
MR. CLANCY: Yeah, all--call it a million people. Pick a city or a metropolitan
area of a million people anywhere in America and study the amount of crime and
misbehavior there as opposed to what happens in the military; I think the military's
going to come off looking pretty good. It is, in fact, a very honest community compared to the rest
of us. And if--I mean--you know, do boys and girls act like boys and girls? Sure.
They do it up on Capitol Hill, too.
LAMB: W--anything lingering from the Vietnam experience in the military--bad
GEN. FRANKS: No, I don't believe so, Brian. I think I, like many
members of that generation, were resolved to--to do whatever we could
to see to it that that wouldn't happen again. We also saw the
enormous importance of fundamentals, of non-commission officer
contribution to winning tactical battles. So I don't believe so. I
think the Army's beyond that, has learned those lessons. A lot of--a
lot of tactical innovations came out of Vietnam: the whole use of the
helicopter; the use of attack helicopters; the whole air assault idea,
which was the 1st Cavalry Division; the use of anti-tank missiles
fired from the helicopters. Those were great tactical innovations by
the US Army in Vietnam that have certainly progressed since that time
and technology and have been adopted by a lot of armies around the
world. So there were a lot of innovations, also, done by the US Army to fulfill
their tactical role in Vietnam.
LAMB: Let me ask Tom Clancy a general question about this whole
business of book writing and interviews like this. Why do you do
MR. CLANCY: Well, it's my job. I mean, you know, writing--you know,
producing books is what I do for a living. It keeps food on the
table, and quite a bit of food and a rather large table. But it's my...
LAMB: But let me just interrupt a second--could...
MR. CLANCY: It's my job.
LAMB: But couldn't you give up now and you'd live happily ever after?
MR. CLANCY: I'd get bored to death inside of a couple of weeks.
LAMB: But beyond the money, why do you do it?
MR. CLANCY: I don't know. I guess like the clerk of Oxford:
`Gladly would he lerne and gladly teche.' You know, it's--Brian,
it's what I do. It's my job.
LAMB: But is there another--do you have a...
MR. CLANCY: Some people transplant hearts; some people sell real
estate. I write books.
LAMB: But do you have another mission? I mean, here you are, you
know, lots and lots of interviews on this book tour. Y--what do you
hope to accomplish by the whole thing?
MR. CLANCY: Well, sell some books. I mean, the purpose of writing
is to be read. You know, you write a book in the ho--in the
hopes that people are going to read it, and I think it's a pretty good
book. Well, with all-due modesty, I think Fred and I turned out
something pretty good.
LAMB: Well, having read it, it's enormously detailed on the
battle--the Iraqi war.
MR. CLANCY: Mm-hmm.
LAMB: I want to ask you about that. Who do you think--who did you
envision sitting down and reading all the detail?
MR. CLANCY: Anybody who wants to learn how things happen. I mean,
one of my passions in life is to learn--is to figure out how things work, whether
it's, you know, my friends at Johns Hopkins Medical School working on the new
procedure or f--or my friends at Disney World building a new attraction down in
Florida or whatever. I just love to figure out how things work. And there--I think there's a lot of people
out there who share the same fan--or, you know, the same desire that I do. And
this explains what it's like to be a general. And what's going to impress them is
how hard it is, the intellectual depth required of--of senior command.
LAMB: Were you surprised after this experience?
MR. CLANCY: Yeah. You know, you never really appreciate it till you actually
see it. It's like--a couple of weeks ago, I was out at the National Training Center
again, and-- it's my third trip out to Ft. Irwin, California, where they--you know,
they play war essentially at the brigade level. And the amount of planning and
detail required just for one brigade to conduct combat operations is a hell of a lot
more complicated than people realize. You actually have to go out and see it happen before you fully appreciate
LAMB: Why did you do this, General?
GEN. FRANKS: Wanted to tell the story of--of Desert Storm from the
ground perspective, from the perspective of those who were out there
on the battlefield where the ground war was taking place. For us in
7th Corps Jayhawks, as--as the nickname of the corps is, the men and women of
the corps, the 146,000 American and British soldiers, to tell their story, to tell the
ground war from the perspective of those who were at the front, so to speak, not
the perspective from theater headquarters in Riyadh, which was another
perspective, or perspective in Washington, but--but what it was like
out there in a ground war in Desert Storm.
So that--to tell that story, to tell the story of the United States
Army's remarkable rebirth through a lot of hard work, through
partnership with the American people and the American Congress from
the tough days of the middle '70s to the 1980s, and to tell the story
about command, what commanders do, how they're educated, how they
grow, how they learn, the intense teamwork, what commanders think
about, what they consider, the differences between the risks and
gambles, the--how you build a team, how you decide--how you decide
immediate tactical decisions and how you forecast, how you gather
information rapidly, and the whole art of battle command, Brian.
Wanted to explore the depths of that.
LAMB: Now from all the interviews you've done and the book signings,
what are you learning about the American people's interest in what's
in this book?
MR. CLANCY: Well, we've signed an awful lot of books in the last
week. The lines have been long, and the people have been very kind.
LAMB: What are they interested in? What do they say to you?
MR. CLANCY: I guess they just want to learn. I mean, they
just--to Fred, they say thanks, as they should, for 35 years of devoted and expert
service to our country. And to me, they usually say they like the kind of books I
write, and that's kind of nice, too.
LAMB: Well, one of the statistics that you have in the book is that there are
495,000 people in the Army.
MR. CLANCY: Mm-hmm.
LAMB: And there are 12 four-star generals and 42 three-star generals.
Is that enough?
MR. CLANCY: Really, Fred's in a better place to answer that than me.
I think all of our services--speaking for myself, I think all of
our services are overflagged. But Fred's the expert here. I'll defer
LAMB: I'll ask him in just a second. But what do you think of
the--what's the role of a general?
MR. CLANCY: Well, it depends on which--you know, which particular
job he has. When Fred was TRADOC, you know, the commanding general of
training and doctrine command, his job was to look 20 years into the
future and start planning for, you know, what the Army would need a
generation away in addition to, you know, to conducting training
and readiness operations on a day-to-day basis. If your job is
commanding an Army, your job is to get the Army ready for combat
operations, regardless of whether they seem likely or not. So, I
mean, it depends on the job.
But generally, it means command, to use your head, to think
wha--whatever problem you're faced with all the way through and to be
ready to fix the problem at the moment the president picks up
the phone and says, `Go.'
LAMB: And from what you've seen, what's the best training for those
MR. CLANCY: They start off as lieutenants, and then they become
first lieutenants, then the become captains and majors and lieutenant
colonels and colonels, and they work their way up. And the closer
they get to the top, the harder the competition becomes. But you
learn by s--you learn by starting as lieutenant with 40 guys
under--for whom you're responsible, and then a company commander and a
battalion commander and a brigade commander on up, and learning
everything in between.
LAMB: You were 10 1/2 years a general.
GEN. FRANKS: Yes.
LAMB: What's the difference between having those stars on your
shoulder than anything else?
GEN. FRANKS: The opportunity to do a lot of good for the people
in your command, to the opportunity to do a lot of good for the
Army as an institution and for the nation. So I believe
generals, Brian, people in senior leadership positions, as would be
true in the corporate world as well, need to focus on three, four or
five key issues of their time and that specific responsibility, decide
what those are and then focus our energies and the energies of the
organization on those and see to it that those objectives get
accomplished while considering all of the people in the organization
and working to make sure they feel a part of that accomplishment
as part of a team.
LAMB: Let me pick a small thing that you say in your book. You say
you're not a screamer.
GEN. FRANKS: No, I'm not. Some people are.
LAMB: Have you ever worked for anybody in the military that was a
GEN. FRANKS: Oh, sure, lots. I s--I say in here
commaders--especially during combat, military leaders talk tough to
each other. They have to. They have to be very candid and open.
Sometimes you scream back and forth, and that's all--that's all part
of it. And I think you do that to convey the intensity of your
feelings about particular decisions that are about to be made, or your
feelings for your soldiers or a particular operation. But then
somebody's in charge and they have to say, `OK, I've heard it all.
Here's what we're going to do,' and--and then you send a salute and
then you go execute that.
But I--I don't--I get--you know, --I get angry, I get mad.
I've got the full range of emotions like everybody else. But--but no,
I--my personality, I don't tend to be a screamer, but I tend
to be tough and firm and insist on skills and fundamentals, and
people care and people continue to look ahead and to anticipate and to
care about their subordinates. Mission first, but always with
consideration for the people in the organization.
LAMB: How did this country do in the Desert Storm war?
MR. CLANCY: We couldn't have done much better, certainly --you
know, at the tactical level. Every time we touched an Iraqi
unit we destroyed it. I mean, Fred's corps went through, I think, 11
or 12 divisions...
GEN. FRANKS: Eleven.
MR. CLANCY: ...and--OK, 11 divisions, and just went through them
like a harvesting machine in a Kansas wheat field. There was ne...
LAMB: How many people in a division?
MR. CLANCY: Well, it depends on--about 15,000. Depends on
the configuration of the division. And everything they touched
they destroyed. I mean, it was kind of like the Medusa touch. You
know, you just touch it and it's dead. And just--like I said, like a
harvesting machine through a Kansas wheat field, there was nothing
left behind but flat spaces.
LAMB: Anything done wrong?
GEN. FRANKS: No. I say in the book, Brian, I think--certainly it
wasn't perfect--things rarely are--but it came to the closest to a
perfect operation of anything that I'd ever been involved in in 35 1/2
years in the Army. And I'm enormously proud of the soldiers and
leaders of 7th Corps, the American and British soldiers, and what we
accomplished together in getting prepared in a short period of time
and then the 89-hour, 250-kilometer attack that turned 90 degrees and
attacked into the--to the flank of the Republican Guards. I'm proud
of that and what--what we did together.
LAMB: More than once you also cite the Civil War and some tactics
that were used at Gettysburg and places like that. Di--how much
training do you have in what happened in other wars?
GEN. FRANKS: Well, leader development, Brian, I--we--the
Army says you develop as a leader in--in really three different
ways. You learn by experience, as Tom has already said, by
service in every echelon of command. And I really think
command is one of those responsibilities, at least in the Army, where
you don't laterally enter. You don't suddenly become a corps
commander. You earn your spurs, as you will, by
demonstrating proficiency at each level prior to that and by also
demonstrating capacity to grow into new responsibilities.
So you learn by experience, but somebody once said, `Only a fool
learns everything by experience,' and so you learn from others, you
learn by study, you learn by professional reading, you learn by going
out on terrain walks. And the United States Army's made a lot of use
of terrain walks to the battlefields that have pr--been preserved so
well in our country, especially from the Civil War. And you also
learn by formal military schooling. And I've been privileged, as most
of my generation has and all have, to go to each successive level of
military school, starting with a basic armor course at Ft. Knox,
ranger and airborne school at Ft. Benning and so on, right on up to
the National War College right here in Washington, DC.
So those three pieces go together, but study and reading of
others, study of military history, looking at battlefields, Civil War
particularly, is very important.
LAMB: How much time have you spent on other wars?
MR. CLANCY: Quite a bit less. I mean, the--there's not a
general in the Army who doesn't have the equivalent of a PhD in
military history. I mean, you--it--you can walk into an
ambush where you ask what you think is an innocent question and end up
with a 20-minute lecture that goes--that starts with Alexander the
Great and comes all the way through Napoleon, Rommel, Ulysses Grant
and then--`And that, Tom, is why we do it this way today.'
The one of the amazing things about the Army--it--it's so
poorly appreciated, is how intellectual the organization is, and
the--and the veneration they have for the study of history.
LAMB: Is there any particular war that you s--hear them keep
mentioning all the time or some particular commander?
MR. CLANCY: They're all a little bit different, but the Civil War
seems to be the most popular in terms of, you know, drawing tactical
lessons and, `This is what Lee did right,' and `This is what Lee did
wrong,' and, `If only Grant had done this, the war would have ended a
year sooner,' that sort of thing.
LAMB: Do you go back and read the Civil War stuff?
MR. CLANCY: Actually, no, because I--the--World War II is sort
of my area of fascination, particularly the--in the Pacific. But, you
know, I mean, that's just--that's just my area of interest as--you know, as a
reader of history.
LAMB: What was the first year that your first book came out?
MR. CLANCY: "Red October" was published October '84.
LAMB: So we're talking about--What was that?--13 years ago.
MR. CLANCY: Thereabouts, yeah.
LAMB: Has your interest changed since then?
MR. CLANCY: Well, it's certainly broadened somewhat. I've--you
know, I've learned a lot of intelligence operations, law enforcement
and various areas of science that I--you know, I get deeper
and deeper into. You--you--now wi--the--my last
Cold War book was 10 years ago. And I've done, let's see, Irish
heroism, espionage, drug, nuclear t--drugs, nuclear terrorism--you
know, back to-- the Vietnam era to explain how John Clark
became John Clark. Then a possible, you know, conflict between
America and Japan and the newest one, about a conflict in the
Middle East and biological warfare. So I keep having to stretch
farther and farther. I don't want to repeat myself and write the same
book twice, so I--now--and now I'm delving into all sorts of crazy
LAMB: The total number of novels you've written and the total number
of non-fiction books.
MR. CLANCY: Nine novels. This is the first really serious work of
non-fiction. I've also got, you know, the so-called military series
out, "Submarine," "The Armored Cav," "Fighter Wing" and "Marine,"
about--which tells the rea--which tell the reader, you know, what the
units we have deployed today are like, you know, what are
the--what are the weapons like, how the people train, how
they think, what it's like to live out there on a ship or in an
armored cavalry regiment or in a Marine expeditionary unit.
LAMB: What's more satisfying for you, the non-fiction or the fiction?
MR. CLANCY: Of--I'd have to say--in all honesty, I'd have to
say fiction because that's a--that's me. That's from
in here and in here and that's it. The books of non-fiction are
necessarily collaborations, and that's the most unnatural act I know
of, is two people trying to write the same book. But, yeah, fiction's
re--really where my heart is, but I really do like this, too.
LAMB: General Franks, where's your hometown?
GEN. FRANKS: I was born near Reading, Pennsylvania--West Lawn, West
LAMB: What was your high school years like?
GEN. FRANKS: They were terrific, Brian. I was very fortunate--grew
up in the '40s and '50s there in West Lawn--small town. Met my wife,
Denise, we were both 13, and later were married. Great experience in
athletics and had great teachers, all of them World War II veterans,
by and large. But had a series of great teachers at Wilson High
School in--there in West Lawn--still there. It's grown quite a bit
since those days. But they were wonderful years. I learned an awful
LAMB: What--what'd your parents do?
GEN. FRANKS: Great impact on my life.
LAMB: What'd your parents do?
GEN. FRANKS: Mother and Dad--my mother was a great teacher,
wonderful woman. I don't think Mom ever had a bad day. Great source
of strength at home. She was a homemaker to my brother Farrell and my
sister Frances. She was a great reader, very bright woman, and
introduced me to the world of books and words and literature and
writing, always very careful with the language.
My dad, high school education, took that and through hard work and wit
and great leadership, motivational ability himself, became vice
president for retail sales for Endicott Johnson Shoe Corporation.
Enormously proud of my parents. Got us off to a great start in life.
LAMB: Where--did you go to college?
GEN. FRANKS: Yes. I went to Lehigh University for one year in
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and then got an appointment to West Point.
Entered there 5th of July, 1955, and graduated with the great
class--1959 on June the 3rd, 1959.
LAMB: And you went back to teach?
GEN. FRANKS: Yes, I did.
LAMB: For how long?
GEN. FRANKS: I was--I went to Columbia University for--for graduate
work and then taught at West Point for three years on--in the English
faculty and also, while I was there, was assistant varsity baseball
LAMB: How long did it take you from the time you were wounded in
Vietnam in '70 to the time where you could walk normally with an
GEN. FRANKS: My leg wasn't amputated initially, Brian. I
was--through a series of operations and so forth--and I was going
downhill fast emotionally and physically, and decided in December of
1969 to have my leg amputated, which was done right after the Super
Bowl in January of--of '71--I'm sorry, December of '70.
I think it was about three months later. They had to leave the end of
my leg open because of infection and--but I--they got me up and
around--physical training staff there was quite insistent on getting
us up, helping yourself. The commander of the hospital there
was--they didn't let us--didn't want us feeling sorry for ourselves,
riding around in a wheelchair, so get up, open doors yourself, use the
stairs. If there was an elevator in the hospital, I don't know about
it because we weren't allowed to use elevators.
So it was help yourself and help each other and a lot of teamwork
among the amputees there helping each other. So it was about three
months I was up and around, using a cane--a crutch and a cane, and had
my final surgery in September of '71. Wife and daughter and I
celebrated that event by going to Disney World right after it
opened in November with a crutch but started walking soon
after that. And that was part of the physical part of it
sometimes is the easy part. It's the emotional readjustment, the
self-esteem readjustment, and that--it--that was so for all of us.
LAMB: When was the moment that you can remember where you said, `I'm
GEN. FRANKS: Almost right after the surgery. I started feeling
better, I started gaining weight. I knew then that I had regained the
initiative in my life, so to speak, in that my goal was to remain
a soldier, although I did look at other opportunities, but I only ever
wanted to be a soldier and--but it was right after surgery I
said, `OK, this is--don't look back, and let's be thankful for what we
have, not what we don't have. And let's go on here and start
building it day by day.' It--so it was almost immediately right after
LAMB: Tom Clancy, where'd you grow up?
MR. CLANCY: I grew up in Baltimore.
LAMB: What was your high school years like?
MR. CLANCY: Oh, well, I ha--I was a nerd before the
status was dignified with a title. I--you know, I went to Loyola
College in--or Loyola High School and then Loyola College, both
Jesuit institutions, and it was just--you know, it--like
Fred, I guess, you know, it was kind of like "Leave It To Beaver" in
LAMB: But--how about your parents? What were they--what'd they do?
MR. CLANCY: Dad was a mailman. Mom mainly stayed at home till I got
into high school and then she went to work for Montgomery
Ward's in the credit department. So, you know, for most of my childhood, Mom
was, you know, there at home, watching soap operas, cleaning house and
LAMB: When did you start reading?
MR. CLANCY: Pretty early. I sta--the first important book
I remember--I mean, it was--aside from the bi--the first thing I got
out of the library was called "The Biggest Bear," which was about a
large bear, but then I started reading science fiction, Jules Verne,
back in--in third grade and I just kind of never looked back.
LAMB: But your reading habits when--you said your mother introduced
you to reading?
GEN. FRANKS: Yes. She always--we always had books around. She
was--was very insistent we use correct English when we
talked. My dad was--in my childhood years at home was a shoe
store manager. But I--right from the beginning, I remember having
books around and reading, Brian. But I ran into--when we
moved to Reading, moved to West Wyomissing, I had a fifth grade
teacher, Ms. Shanauer, later Mrs. Hemig, and there she really made
learning fun. She had comp--a sense of competition. She would have
us read whatever we were interested in. I read a lot of sports
biographies that year. I remember 22, 23 books. I met best
friend, later became a doctor, Carl Hassler there, and it was a
great learning environment of friends and she just made learning
exciting. So it was a--she was a grade school, fifth grade teacher, I
think, that really opened up, in a formal education way for me,
learning and excitement of learning and the excitement of reading.
And I give her a lot of credit for that.
LAMB: When did you learn how to write?
MR. CLANCY: I get--I started dabbling with writing in
high school at Loyola High School and started doing stories
and that's when the bug bit me. That's when I decided that
some day I was going to see my name on the cover of a book. And it
took me 20 years, but I did it.
LAMB: Do you get better?
MR. CLANCY: I sure hope so. I mean, you--the more you
practice at anything, the better you're supposed to get. I know
my prose now is better than it used to be. It's still not good
enough, but I keep working on it.
LAMB: Did anybody teach you how to write?
MR. CLANCY: Oh, God. At Loyola High School, Father John "Buck"
Sheridan, a stern disciplinarian but pretty good
teacher--I--in a fit of nostalgia, I had him christen my first
daughter. He screwed it up. It was the first baptism he'd done in 25
years. A layman named Dick Prody in my senior year was a fabulously
good teacher. They're the two most important teachers I had
in terms of getting me writing.
LAMB: I want to know what you two have gotten to know about each
other in this process. What do you think of Tom Clancy?
MR. CLANCY: Oh, God.
GEN. FRANKS: Well, Tom's been a great friend since we met in 1991.
LAMB: Are you surprised of--about anything that you've learned about
GEN. FRANKS: That depth of his knowledge of military history, his
enormous capacity to read and to absorb information. Tom's a--really
a student of military history, military affairs, student of human
behavior, as certainly anybody who reads all of his novels, as I
have, would notice that in a minute. So human behavior,
human behavior in crises, the ability to, oh, absorb all this
variety of information and make it into some coherent whole.
LAMB: When do you know when he's not having any fun?
GEN. FRANKS: Well, it's hard. Tom's got a great capacity for work,
great work ethic. When he can't get to the Orioles' ball games
probably and grouses a little about that.
LAMB: What do you think of General Franks?
MR. CLANCY: He's a hero. You know, look, I'm a minstrel, I'm--and I'm a very
well-aid minstrel. You know, I write books, and I'm very well compensated for it.
But --when I make up characters, they're a pale imitation of what this guy really
i--really did for 30-some years, OK? He went to Vietnam. It was a war in which
our country probably should not have been involved. He probably knew
that at the time, but he went anyway because he'd sworn on oath to
preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
He got badly hurt. 1971, as you read in that book, was a year of
pure hell for Fred and Denise, and he bounced back from it and kept going and
reached the pinnacle of his profession. I mean, a guy can't get much tougher than
that. He's intellectually brilliant and one of the most human, thoughtful people you
ever want to meet. I mean, this guy genuinely loves his soldiers. And if my son should have
to go into com--God--you know, God forbid Tommy have to go into combat
operations, I want somebody like Fred looking after him.
LAMB: There is a--near the end, a discussion of your anger and it's
all about an order around General Schwarzkopf that you supposedly
didn't carry out. Can you--wh--what's that story?
GEN. FRANKS: That was the last few hours --of the ground war,
Brian, when I received some instructions from my immediate boss,
John Yosak, that I interpreted as to stop movement--reported
movement of Iraqi forces through a particular crossroads. In the
written order that came down, the order was to seize the crossroads.
My interpretation at the time, which was early in the morning of the
28th, was to interdict or otherwise stop the movement through the
crossroads, which we did. We had force--we had aviation forces out
there, but by the time of the cease-fire, we did not get any forces to
occupy the crossroads.
Apparently the order to seize the crossroads had come from the theater
commander, General Schwarzkopf, to the third Army commander, John
Yosak, and I was communicated a written order to us some time later
that morning before the cease-fire. I believe it was reported to
General Schwarzkopf that we had the crossroads and then he wanted to
use that as a site for the cease-fire talks. And when he learned that
we didn't have them, he was upset about it and probably understandably
so. How that got reported to him --that we had the crossroads--I
don't know, to this day, how that happened.
But then he thought John Yosak and I had disobeyed his orders by not
seizing the crossroads when, in fact, that was not the case at all.
And, yes, I was upset. I was mad at the time. And if this is
a study in command, you got to capture the emotions of what commanders
feel at various times. And the first communication I had from
higher headquarters was to accuse me of disobeying an order --when
7th Corps--with five divisions, we'd just attacked and destroyed the
better part of 11 Iraqi divisions --at some cost -- to our
soldiers. And that was the first communication I had, yeah. So I
was mad at that. But I reported --what we had done and
why and sent that on in --and then learned the other pieces of the
story --as I've just related.
LAMB: Did you ever talk to General Schwarzkopf about it?
GEN. FRANKS: No, I never did. He never raised it and I didn't bring
it up to him, and I considered the matter closed.
LAMB: Go back to the command, which is the principal reason for this
book. What personal traits do you sense that a leader needs in order
to be a good commander?
MR. CLANCY: Brains, integrity, compassion. Brains because you need
the--you have to have the intellectual ability to synthesize a
lot of information, make correct decisions and act upon them.
Integrity--if you're not honest, you can't make it, OK? You got to be
straight with yourself, you got to be straight with your troops. And
compassion--you got to love them. You know, that goes back to Robert
E. Lee, you know, the--the first general I'm aware of who said that,
`You have to love your soldiers, you have to care about them, because
if they don't, they'll know that and they won't perform for you.'
LAMB: Th--I don't want to put words in your mouth, but go back to the
book and this incident you're talking about with General Schwarzkopf.
It seemed like that you were saying in the book, `Now we just won this
thing big time, and the first thing I get is a complaint and not a--a
thank you.' I mean, were you surprised when you heard that the general
hadn't, you know, said those words?
MR. CLANCY: In a--way, yeah, but you have to remember that you
don't get to be a general without having --a fairly capacious ego. I
mean, --you have to believe--look, you have to believe in yourself
before you can send thousands of people into combat. You have to
believe that --you have the ability to do that. And-- these
people tend--you know, even Fred, who's a fairly modest guy--I mean,
he's got a lot of confidence, with reason. Well, you get a bunch of
those people together in a small space and they're going to
start bum--you know, the egos are going to start bumping into each
other. And then, you know--and there--there's--there's going to be,
you know, --maybe a few hot words and then everybody backs off
and says, `Oh, OK,' shakes hands and goes on with it.
It's just--it--I don't know, it's kind of like a ball team. If you
got a real--you know, like, the--you know, the Orioles are doing very
well now. You got a whole bunch of really good ballplayers
together, each one of them thinks he's the best ballplayer in the
world or he wouldn't be there. And sometimes that and
sometimes, you know, these feelings kind of break out and then
they back off, remember, `Hey, we are a team. We got to
work together,' and they started playing the ball game again.
LAMB: Do you have a fairly capacious ego?
GEN. FRANKS: I like to think of it as a--I strongly believe in
what I believe in. I think commanders have to have a lot of
confidence in themselves. They--certainly they've got to have an ego.
I think anyone in a position of responsibility does. But I think you
also have to see to it that the ego doesn't get in the way of doing
what's right to accomplish a mission at least cost to your
LAMB: Wha--what did you do when you were--by the way, what are you
doing now besides this book?
GEN. FRANKS: Finished the book. I'm doing a little corporate board
work, Brian, and I'm also serving as a--what's called a senior
observer, a mentor in the Army's battle command training program,
advising division and corps commanders, --command-to-staff
LAMB: What I started to ask you is what little things did you do
as a leader that--you know, your little style? I don't know
whether it was, you know, going up and shaking hands with people or
patting them on the back or--what little things did you always do
with the troops?
GEN. FRANKS: I always tried to see to it that everybody understood
what it is --we were doing, that there was great understanding
of what's called `the commander's intent'--`Here's the vision or
here's the--here's what it is that--that we are--we're doing,' and
state that in clear, precise terms, and then go around and teach that,
and then see to it that everybody in the organization feels a part of
accomplishing that particular goal. So teamwork--I like teamwork.
I think teamwork -is the--one of the underlying ingredients of
Secondly, to visit around the organization a lot--go around and see
soldiers. I say --you've got to really feel it all. You've got
to feel the organization. You've got to know the people. You have to
almost internalize the organization and know it so well in order to
command it and to lead it. I like to say, `To lead is to serve.'
The spotlight should shine on the lead, not the leader, and that--so
that's--that would be --one of the things that I would like to do.
Say thanks as often as possible and in ways appropriate to whatever it
is was accomplished, and do that yourself a lot. Don't use auto pens
or automatic things or send things through the mail. I mean, go
congratulate, shake people's hands, do the awards yourself. Those
would be some of the things.
Fundamentals--I think I got that from playing a lot of sports and then
coming into the Army and seeing fundamentals. Skill and fundamentals
wins battles and engagements. And stress fundamental skills--being
able to hit what you aim at in gunnery; taking care of your equipment,
maintenance; being able to maneuver, rapidly change formation
alignments--basic skill and fundamentals as you would teach in
athletics but --in organizations. And drill that hard so that
people can do it almost instinctively.
LAMB: You--you're in a different kind of a battle, but when you get
out among the public, what ha--what's in your head about how you want
to treat people that buy your books and think you...
MR. CLANCY: Same way I want them to treat me. I mean, you treat
everybody the same. You know, --every person --is entitled to
be treated with respect and dignity and if they--you know, if they
treat me that way, I damn well treat them that way.
LAMB: In the back of the book, there's a note that the--part of the
proceeds of this book go to the Black Horse Vietnam Veterans Group.
GEN. FRANKS: Yes.
LAMB: Let me ask Tom Clancy first a general question. How did you
two divide up the profits of this book?
MR. CLANCY: It's a partnership. For every buck he makes, Fred makes
a buck--or I--you know, for every $2, we each--each get one.
LAMB: And what--how much of your proceeds are going to the Black
Horse Vietnam Veterans?
GEN. FRANKS: Well, there's the--we formed, Brian--the 11th
Cavalry Black Horse Association has been in existence for some time
and there's also a--the 11th Cavalry Veterans of Vietnam in
Cambodia--two different organizations, but both serving the same
cause. The other organization is the 7th Corps Desert Storm Veterans
Association, which is an association of veterans of 7th Corps who
served together, American and British, during Desert Storm. And that
was--we just formed that two years ago and just got our
tax-exempt-as-a-non-profit status. Just awarded the first two
scholarships to next of kin of those who served in the Gulf. So
contributions will go to both of those organizations to benefit next
of kin. In the case of 7th Corps Association also to assist others
who may be having difficulty through Gulf War-related illnesses or--or
LAMB: Here's the cover of the book. Tom Clancy with General Fred
Franks Jr., retired. The name of the book is "Into The Storm: A
Study In Command." Gentlemen, thank you very much.
MR. CLANCY: A pleasure, as always.
Copyright National Cable Satellite Corporation 1997. Personal, noncommercial use of this transcript is permitted. No commercial, political or other use may be made of this transcript without the express permission of National Cable Satellite Corporation.