For a man who booted Saddam Hussein from power in 20 days, Tommy Franks is an underhyped hero. Media-wary and self-effacing, the deep-voiced Texan is the Ulysses Grant of the terror war: a soldier more concerned with good cigars than good press. Yet with his daring campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, this Garth Brooks-lovin' mechanic's son shocked the enemy and the news-studio generals with his unprecedented emphasis on speed, precision, and Special Forces—while transforming an at-times reluctant military into a force well prepared for 21st-century threats. Now happily retired, the warrior drawn to the Army by "adventure and adrenaline" is juggling grandbabies and writing his memoirs. "There's no such thing as a society that lasts without costs," he says of the security challenges ahead. "But as long as we have our freedoms, we are winning the war on terror."
*The name of this award was originally the Impact Award. In 2008, the awards were renamed as the Inspire Awards.