Four-star General H. Norman Schwarzkopf Jr. (August 22, 1934 – December 27, 2012) passed away due to complications from pneumonia in Tampa, Fla., where he had lived in retirement. General Schwarzkopf was known popularly as “Stormin’ Norman,” because of a notoriously explosive temper. He will be known as one of America’s greatest and smartest of generals.
The Daily Mail of London said about him, “His large personality and public prominence during the nation’s first live-broadcast war made him the the most recognizable, and acclaimed, military commander since Dwight Eisenhower and Douglas MacArthur.”
H. Norman Schwarzkopf Jr., will be forever be identified as the general and leader of the war on the on the ground known as “Operation Desert Storm.” That was the war of a U.S.-led international coalition that drove Saddam Hussein’s forces out of Kuwait in 1991 and back into Iraq. The feeling at the time was that Hussein was heading into Saudi Arabia had he gone unchecked into Kuwait.
Because of this threat to Saudi Arabia and its oil riches, General Schwarzkopf played a key diplomatic role by helping to persuade Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd to allow U.S. and other foreign troops to deploy on Saudi territory as a staging area for the war to come. This was a difficult political decision for King Fahd
On Jan. 17, 1991, a five-month buildup called Desert Shield became “Operation Desert Storm” as allied aircraft attacked Iraqi bases and Baghdad government facilities. The six-week aerial campaign climaxed with a massive ground offensive on Feb. 24-28, routing the Iraqis from Kuwait in 100 hours before U.S. officials called a halt.
That brief war, known as “Operation Desert Storm,” was the last victory of the U.S. military and it was accomplished with “overwhelming force.” Troop strength during “Operation Desert Storm” eventually reached 543,000 troops. The U.S. assembled a coalition of forces to join it in opposing Iraq’s aggression, consisting of forces from more than 30 countries: Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, France, Greece, Italy, Kuwait, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Portugal, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the U.S. itself.
After “Operation Desert Storm,” Schwarzkopf’s popularity was huge. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George H.W. Bush, was given a standing ovation by Congress and was bestowed an honorary knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II.
His real name was Herbert Norman Schwarzkopf (Jr.) was born in Trenton, New Jersey, the son of Ruth Alice (née Bowman) and Herbert Norman Schwarzkopf (Sr.). His paternal grandparents were German. His father had served in the US Army before becoming the Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, where he worked as a lead investigator on the 1932 Lindberg baby kidnapping case before returning to an Army career and rising to the rank of Major General.
He is survived by wife Brenda and children: Cynthia Schwarzkopf, Jessica Schwarzkopf, and Christian Schwarzkopf.
In an official statement released by the White House, President Barack Obama said that “With the passing of General Norman Schwarzkopf, we’ve lost an American original. From his decorated service in Vietnam to the historic liberation of Kuwait and his leadership of United States Central Command, General Schwarzkopf stood tall for the country and Army he loved.”
Former President George H.W. Bush who was the Commander-in-Chief at the time of “Operation Desert Storm” said of his friend, “Barbara and I mourn the loss of a true American patriot and one of the great military leaders of his generation. A distinguished member of that ‘Long Gray Line’ hailing from West Point, Gen. Norm Schwarzkopf, to me, epitomized the ‘duty, service, country’ creed that has defended our freedom and seen this great nation through our most trying international crises.”
Another personal friend, former U.S. Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell, who oversaw “Operation Desert Storm,” said, “America lost a great patriot and a great soldier. Norm served his country with courage and distinction for over 35 years. The highlight of his career was the 1991 Persian Gulf War, Operation Desert Storm. ‘Stormin’ Norman’ led the coalition forces to victory, ejecting the Iraqi Army from Kuwait and restoring the rightful government. His leadership not only inspired his troops, but also inspired the nation.”
General “Stormin Norman” Schwarzkopf will be missed by a grateful nation.
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John is the author of an award-winning book, the 2010 Winner of the USA National Best Book award for African-American studies, published by The Elevator Group. Mr. and Mrs. Grassroots: How Barack Obama, Two Bookstore Owners, and 300 Volunteers did it. Also available an eBook on Amazon. John is also a member of the Society of Midland Authors and is a book reviewer of political books for the New York Journal of Books