Lieutenant General Ricardo S. Sanchez (born 1953) is the commander of U.S. ground forces in Iraq, serves as commander of the U.S. V Corps and is the highest-ranking Hispanic in the United States Army.
Born into a poor family in Rio Grande City, Texas, Sanchez studied hard throughout school. He spent one year at the University of Texas on an ROTC scholarship, eventually transferring to Texas A&I University (now Texas A&M University-Kingsville) in Kingsville, Texas, where he graduated in 1973 with a double major in math and history.
Shortly after graduation, Sanchez was commissioned into the Army, becoming a paratrooper platoon leader with the 82nd Airborne Division stationed at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. By 1977, he was transferred to Armor. He received promotions swiftly and was stationed all over the United States, in Korea, Panama and Germany.
In 1991, then-Colonel Sanchez served as a battallion commander during Operation Desert Storm, successfully leading his battalion to Basra without losing any men. Shortly after the Gulf War, Sanchez was promoted to Brigadier General in charge of the 2nd Brigade of the 1st Infantry Division. Afterwards, he served in various duties as deputy chief of staff of the U.S. Southern Command and then as U.S. Southern Command's director of operations.
On July 10, 2001, General Sanchez became commanding general of V Corps' 1st Armored Division. He held that position for nearly two years before assuming command of the entire corps on June 14, 2003. On this date he also became commander of coalition ground forces in the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq. During his tenure in Iraq, Sanchez oversaw the deaths of Uday and Qusay Hussein and also the capture of Saddam Hussein.
It is likely that following the end of his tenure in Iraq, Sanchez will be promoted to a full, four-star General. If so, he would become only the second Hispanic four-star general in Army history, the first being Richard Cavazos.