Thursday, December 27, 2012

Retired General Norman Schwarzkopf dies

'Stormin' Norman' may have gotten his nickname for a notoriously explosive temper, but the much-decorated war hero also deserved it for the U.S.-led campaign — Desert Storm — that drove Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait in 1991.

By Bill Hutchinson / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf in 1991, standing with his tank troops during Operation Desert Storm in Saudi Arabia. Schwarzkopf died Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012 in Tampa, Fla. He was 78.

Retired four-star Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, the New Jersey-born soldier whose celebrated military career culminated in his command of the international coalition that repelled Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait in 1991, has died. He was 78.

Schwarzkopf died Thursday in Tampa, where he had lived since retiring from the Army in 1992.

The cause of his death was not immediately disclosed.


"The mothers and fathers of America will give you their sons and daughters . . . with the confidence in you that you will not needlessly waste their lives — and you dare not," Schwarzkopf once said on the subject of a military leader's responsibility. "That's the burden the mantle of leadership places upon you."

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said the country has lost a "great patriot and a great soldier."

Powell was the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Schwarzkopf's boss during the Desert Storm operation that drove Hussein's Iraqi army out of neighboring Kuwait.

"He was a good friend of mine, a close buddy . I will miss him," Powell said in a statement .

Nicknamed "Stormin' Norman" because of his hot temper, Schwarzkopf was known for wearing desert camouflage and for his straight talk during the Persian Gulf War. He rejected reports he didn't agree with as "bovine scatology," and often peppered his speech with boxing terminology, once describing the 100-hour battle that crushed Hussein's forces as a "left hook."

"We need to destroy, not attack, not damage , not surround. I want to destroy the Republican Guard," he said during the battle.

Born in Trenton, in 1934, Schwarzkopf grew up in a military family.

He spent part of his childhood in Tehran, where his father, Herbert Norman Schwarzkopf, a colonel in the Army, was stationed in the 1940s. The senior Schwarzkopf later became founder and superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, and led the investigation of the Lindbergh baby kidnapping case.

Schwarzkopf followed in his father's footsteps, attending the Valley Forge Military Academy as a boy and graduating from West Point in 1956. He served two tours of duty in Vietnam, receiving numerous medals.

In 1968, he was promoted from major to lieutenant colonel, and that same year married his wife of 44 years, the former Brenda Holsinger.

In 1970, he became a hero when he rescued members of his battalion from a mine field despite being wounded.

In 1988, he was promoted to general and appointed commander-in-chief of the U.S. Central Command.

During his military career, Schwarzkopf received the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart, among other awards.

Following the Persian Gulf War, he retired from active service and wrote the autobiography "It Doesn't Take a Hero" in 1992.

While there was talk that he would run for political office, he never did. Instead, he became a military analyst for NBC.

In 2008, he was inducted into New Jersey's Hall of fame. He is survived by his wife and three children.

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Sean Eagan
American Cold War Veterans, Inc.
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