Retired Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf passed away at 78 from complications due to pneumonia. Known by the moniker “Stormin Norman,” Schwarzkopf is best remembered as the commander in charge of Operation Desert Storm, the first Iraq War.
When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait over disputed oil reserves, President George H.W. Bush declared war on Iraq. Schwarzkopf led a coalition of 30 countries that drove Iraq out of Kuwait. Schwarzkopf “commanded more than 540,000 U.S. troops and 200,000 allied forces” and defeated Hussein in six weeks. This became the crowning achievement of his long military career.
During the war he was often interviewed and seen on international television always in his camouflage fatigues and cap.
Schwarzkopf became an instant celebrity after the war and wrote a best-selling autobiography, It Doesn't Take A Hero. In describing his life he said, “I may have made my reputation as a general in the Army and I'm very proud of that.”
Schwarzkopf was a soldier and an educator. He graduated from West Point with an engineering degree and he later returned as an instructor in missile engineering. He was a decorated soldier earning three Silver Stars, a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart and three Distinguished Service Medals.
He did two tours in Vietnam and in 1988 he was named commander in chief of U.S. Central Command at Tampa's MacDill Air Force Base. In that role he oversaw the headquarters responsible for U.S. military and security operations in the Middle East and Central Asia.
Schwarzkopf was born in Trenton, New Jersey. His father, Col. H. Norman Schwarzkopf Jr. was the founder and commander of the New Jersey State Police and lead investigator of the 1932 Lindbergh baby kidnapping. Born the son of an Army major general, Schwarzkopf, spent his early years educated and raised in Switzerland, Germany, and Italy. His first experience in the Middle East was as a teenager in Iran. He lived there with his father, who was an adviser to the Shah and trained the national police force.
After the end of the war, he was offered the position of chief of Staff of the Army, but instead chose to retire in August 1991. In 1993 he was successfully treated for prostate cancer and later became a national spokesperson for the disease.
He received decorations from many countries, including France, Britain, Belgium, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.
As a private citizen he endorsed President George W. Bush in 2004 and worked as a military analyst for NBC. He spent the latter part of his life donating most of his time to multiple charities, and community activities. He sat on the board of many high-profile corporations including Remington Arms and was an honorary board member of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.
Stormin Norman will be forever remembered for his long and distinguished service record and his charity work. He said “I've always felt that I was more than one-dimensional. I'd like to think I'm a caring human being."