In May 19, 2011, United States Navy Rear Admiral Michael Franken was appointed and installed as the Commander of the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa. He is stationed at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Africa.
Although we do not have exact information on his progression in the United States Armed Services, it appears that Franken joined it following his graduation from the University of Nebraska with a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering in about 1982. While at Nebraska he was in the Reserve Officer Training Program [ROTC].
Since July, 2008, Franken had served as the Vice Director, Strategy, Plans and Policy at the United States Central Command. Prior to that time he had had several postings on guided missile destroyers. He was the first Commanding Officer of USS Winston Churchill, and took the ship through work up training with the Royal Navy of Great Britain.
His other postings were on the USS King, the USS Dahlgren, and the USS Barry. As commodore, Franken commanded Destroyer Squadron 28. He was also the Commander of Task Group 152 in the Eisenhower Strike Group from 2005 until 2007.
Ashore Franken served in four operational staff positions ranging from being responsible for a readiness squadron to a four star fleet command. He also served in the Office of the Secretary of the Navy, in four navy staff positions, and in the Joint Staff as United States Pacific Command Division Chief and Deputy Chief in the Joint Operations Directorate. Franken was the first legislative fellow for the late Senator Ted Kennedy. He has also served as an executive assistant or chief of staff four times.
Franken was born and raised in Sioux Center in Western Iowa, a center of Dutch Americans. At the University of Nebraska he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering. While there, he joined ROTC, and that path eventually led to his Navy career. While in the Navy he attended the Naval Postgraduate School and graduated with a Master of Science degree in Physics. He also took special courses at the Brookings institution and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
There is no information on his family or background.
Rear Admiral Michael T. Franken, Sioux Center Native New Commander Horn of Africa Force, The Windmill Post, August 9, 2011, page B2.
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