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Gulf War's Gen. Schwarzkopf dies in Florida at age 78

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 05:24 a.m. HST, Dec 28, 2012

WASHINGTON >> Retired Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, who topped an illustrious military career by commanding the U.S.-led international coalition that drove Saddam Hussein’s forces out of Kuwait in 1991 but kept a low public profile in controversies over the second Gulf War against Iraq, died Thursday. He was 78.

Schwarzkopf died in Tampa, Fla., where he had lived in retirement, according to a U.S. official, who was not authorized to release the information publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

A much-decorated combat soldier in Vietnam, Schwarzkopf was known popularly as “Stormin’ Norman” for a notoriously explosive temper. 

He served in his last military assignment in Tampa as commander-in-chief of U.S. Central Command, the headquarters responsible for U.S. military and security concerns in nearly 20 countries from the eastern Mediterranean and Africa to Pakistan. 

Schwarzkopf became “CINC-Centcom” in 1988 and when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait three years later to punish it for allegedly stealing Iraqi oil reserves, he commanded Operation Desert Storm, the coalition of some 30 countries organized by President George H.W. Bush that succeeded in driving the Iraqis out.

“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,” Bush said in a statement. “More than that, he was a good and decent man — and a dear friend.”

At the peak of his postwar national celebrity, Schwarzkopf — a self-proclaimed political independent — rejected suggestions that he run for office, and remained far more private than other generals, although he did serve briefly as a military commentator for NBC. 

While focused primarily in his later years on charitable enterprises, he campaigned for President George W. Bush in 2000 but was ambivalent about the 2003 invasion of Iraq, saying he doubted victory would be as easy as the White House and Pentagon predicted. In early 2003 he told the Washington Post the outcome was an unknown: 

“What is postwar Iraq going to look like, with the Kurds and the Sunnis and the Shiites? That’s a huge question, to my mind. It really should be part of the overall campaign plan,” he said. 

Initially Schwarzkopf had endorsed the invasion, saying he was convinced that former Secretary of State Colin Powell had given the United Nations powerful evidence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. After that proved false, he said decisions to go to war should depend on what U.N. weapons inspectors found. 

He seldom spoke up during the conflict, but in late 2004, he sharply criticized then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the Pentagon for mistakes that included inadequate training for Army reservists sent to Iraq and for erroneous judgments about Iraq. 

“In the final analysis I think we are behind schedule. ... I don’t think we counted on it turning into jihad (holy war),” he said in an NBC interview.

Schwarzkopf was born Aug. 24, 1934, in Trenton, N.J., where his father, Col. H. Norman Schwarzkopf Jr., founder and commander of the New Jersey State Police, was then leading the investigation of the Lindbergh kidnap case, which ended with the arrest and 1936 execution of German-born carpenter Richard Hauptmann for stealing and murdering the famed aviator’s infant son. 

The elder Schwarzkopf was named Herbert, but when the son was asked what his “H” stood for, he would reply, “H.” Although reputed to be short-tempered with aides and subordinates, he was a friendly, talkative and even jovial figure who didn’t like “Stormin’ Norman” and preferred to be known as “the Bear,” a sobriquet given him by troops.

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entrkn wrote:
I salute a great soldier...
on December 27,2012 | 01:45PM
Hapa_Haole_Boy wrote:
Thanks Stormin' Norman. RIP.
on December 27,2012 | 01:48PM
Kapuna wrote:
death is only option for 4 star generals to escape prosecution for adultery these days.
on December 27,2012 | 06:13PM
mrluke wrote:
Get back on your meds!
on December 27,2012 | 07:22PM
Kapuna wrote:
One woman did more damage to America's freedom and safety than 500,000 taliban terrorists. Our four star generals on the battlefield to protect Americans, and defeated 500,000 Taliban terrorists. ONe loose women, accomplished what 500,000 of Americas worst enemy couldn not do, destroy 4 star generals who are red blooded Americans. We should not be prosecuting these war heroes but instead be thanking them.
on December 27,2012 | 06:25PM
Sunny wrote:
The Generals did it to themselves.........
on December 28,2012 | 06:40AM
808warriorfan wrote:
God has a great team...a Medal of Honor winner in Senator Inouye and "Stormin' Norman".....
on December 27,2012 | 07:23PM
fshnpoi wrote:
Medal of Honor Recipient..
on December 28,2012 | 07:59AM
ricekidd wrote:
My Father serve with Gen in Vietnam. since then had the pleasure knowing him. RIP Uncle Norm. Have fun shooting the $$$$ with my Dad in Heaven!
on December 28,2012 | 08:26AM
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