United States Air Force Brigadier General Chad Franks, an alumnus of the University of New Orleans, will serve as the principal speaker at the University’s spring commencement ceremony on May 13, 2017 at 10 a.m. in the Lakefront Arena. Brig. Gen. Franks is vice commander of 14th Air Force, Air Force Space Command at Vandenburg Air Force Base in California.
A native of Metairie, La. and graduate of Archbishop Rummel High School, Brig. Gen. Franks, 49, has served 27 years with the U.S. Air Force and logged more than 3,300 hours as a command pilot. He has deployed in support of a number of military operations including Provide Comfort and Northern Watch in Iraq, Allied Force in Kosovo and Iraqi Freedom. He earned a bachelor’s degree in general studies from the University of New Orleans in 1990.
“We are honored that Brig. Gen. Franks has accepted our invitation to speak to our graduates,” said UNO President John Nicklow. “His exemplary service in the U.S. Air Force, numerous awards and decorations, and his rapid rate of promotion are both commendable and inspirational. As an alumnus of the University of New Orleans, he embodies so many of the qualities that we admire about our graduates."
The Air Force Space Command provides ready space forces and command and control capabilities. It is comprised of 12,000 personnel with 28 weapon systems at 44 locations around the globe. Brig. Gen. Franks provides leadership and guidance for the 14th Air Force staff, five space wings, the 614th Air Operations Center and the 614th Air and Space Communications Squadron.
Brig. Gen. Franks was a member of the Air Force ROTC program at UNO. Upon graduation, he entered the Air Force and has since served in a variety of flying positions during various assignments. He has been stationed at military posts across the country, including the Pentagon, and at Air Force Central Command in Qatar.
Brig. Gen. Franks holds a Master of Military Operational Art from Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama and a Master of Strategic Art from Army War College in Pennsylvania. He has earned a number of major awards and decorations including the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal and NATO Medal.