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 > Little League Online > Media > Little League News Archive > 2010 > May - August > Retired Army Gen. Tommy Franks to Take Part in Dedication of Little League’s New Southeastern Region Headquarters

Retired Army Gen. Tommy Franks to Take Part in Dedication of Little League’s New Southeastern Region Headquarters

Retired Army Gen. Tommy Franks to Take Part in Dedication of Little League’s New Southeastern Region Headquarters

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Retired U.S. Army Gen. Tommy Franks will take part in the dedication ceremonies at Little League’s new Southeastern Region Headquarters in Warner Robins, Ga., on Saturday, June 12, it was announced today.

“There is no way to adequately thank soldiers like Tommy Franks,” Stephen D. Keener, President and Chief Executive Officer of Little League Baseball and Softball, said. “He rose through the ranks of the Army, establishing himself as a friend of the common soldier, to the highest rank attainable. We are honored that Gen. Franks will be with us on this special day for Little League.”

Gen. Franks established his relationship with Little League at the 2009 Little League Baseball World Series in South Williamsport when he delivered the ceremonial first pitch for the U.S. Championship Game.

“I was thinking this morning, there is an old saying, ‘You don’t find nations warring if they have a McDonald’s,’ ” Gen. Franks said during a news conference at the Little League Baseball World Series. “I’m not quite sure of that, but I’m pretty sure that you don’t have nations starting wars if they have Little League. This is truly an extraordinary thing, and I hope everyone cherishes the importance of this to mankind.”

Gen. Franks retired in 2003 after more than 30 years of service, rising from the rank of private to four-star General. He served in combat in Vietnam, earning the Army Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit (four times), and the Bronze Star (five times). He also received the Purple Heart three times for combat wounds. In 2004, President George W. Bush awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

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Retired U.S. Army Gen. Tommy Franks throws out the first pitch prior to the start of the United States Championship game at the 2009 Little League Baseball World Series in South Williamsport, Pa. Gen. Franks is scheduled to attend Saturday’s Southeastern Region Headquarters dedication ceremony in Warner Robins, Ga. The Southeast Region Headquarters serves as the administrative center for Little League Baseball and Softball activities in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.

The last Army Post for Gen. Franks was as Commander of the United States Central Command, overseeing U.S. Armed Forces in a 25-country region, including the Middle East. Before that, he was the U.S. General leading the attack on the Taliban in Afghanistan, in response to the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and The Pentagon. He also led the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and the overthrow of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein

“Most of us in the United States can take our freedoms for granted,” Mr. Keener said. “But that is only because brave men and women serve selflessly in our name, willing to go into harm's way so that we can sleep peacefully at night. We're pleased to once again honor all of those currently serving, and those who have served.”

The $5.5 million, 26.08-acre complex has been taking shape over the past year. Since the beginning of the year, the Administration Building has been completed and the baseball stadium has become a visible part of the local landscape.

The second phase included the completion of the stadium, to be named Little League Southeast Park, as well as a maintenance facility, restrooms, concession stands, gift shops and batting cages. The stadium, which has lights provided by Musco Sports Lighting, will seat 2,500 fans with a hillside area around the field bringing total capacity to approximately 5,000. A portion of the stadium seats is covered by a canopy.

Little League alumnus and Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, who has been supportive of the regional headquarters coming to Warner Robins, also is expected to attend the dedication. All facilities will be completed, despite some weather delays along the way, in time for the event.