General H. Norman Schwarzkopf died Thursday, December 27, 2012 in Tampa, Florida of complications from pneumonia. Schwarzkopf was 78 and survived by his wife, Brenda, and his two daughters, Cynthia and Jessica, and his son, Christian.
Retired General Schwarzkopf was beloved by many in the US, and around the world. As a four-star general, he is likely one of the most celebrated military heroes of the 20th century.
Schwarzkopf began his military career at a young age with two tours of duty in Vietnam, three Silver Stars, yet is best known for leading allied forces in the Persian Gulf War beginning in 1991, where he was responsible for pushing Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s forces out of Kuwait. “Stormin’ Norman” became his new media moniker, and US officials revered him as a force with which to be reckoned.
Colin Powell, former Secretary of State and Schwarzkopf’s commander as Joint Chief of Staff, recognized that Schwarzkopf leadership was responsible for inspiring a nation in need of hope. Powell reminisced warmly, ” ‘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. He was a good friend of mine, a close buddy. I will miss him.”
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Schwarzkopf was a “great military giant”. President Obama referred to him as an “American original” and continued, “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. Our prayers are with the Schwarzkopf family, who tonight can know that his legacy will endure in a nation that is more secure because of his patriotic service.”
Schwarzkopf spoke clearly about war and reiterated, “I hate war. Absolutely, I hate war. Good generalship is a realization that you’ve got to try and figure out how to accomplish your mission with a minimum loss of human life.”
Schwarzkopf later retired in August of 1991, and was asked to run for US Senate, however, he felt his calling was not as a politician, and briefly became a military analyst for NBC. He was born in Trenton, New Jersey, in 1934 and named after his father. After his retirement Schwarzkopf was better known as “The Bear” and had supported many national children’s charities. His long-standing reverence in his community was recognized when the elementary school in Tampa bore his name. Schwarzkopf was recently quoted by The Associated Press, “I may have made my reputation as a general in the Army and I am very proud of that, but I’ve always felt that I was more than one-dimensional. It’s nice to feel that you have a purpose.”