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General 'Stormin'' Norman Schwarzkopf dies at 89

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
December 27th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Known popularly as "Stormin' Norman" for a notoriously explosive temper, General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, who commanded the U.S.-led international coalition that drove Saddam Hussein's forces out of Kuwait in 1991, has died. He was 78. The retired career military man had been living in retirement and in Tampa, Florida.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A much-decorated combat soldier in Vietnam, Schwarzkopf had served in his last military assignment as commander-in-chief of U.S. Central Command, responsible for U.S. military and security concerns in nearly 20 countries from the eastern Mediterranean and Africa to Pakistan.

Born in Trenton, New Jersey in 1934, Schwarzkopf was the son of the Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, where he worked as a lead investigator on the infamous Lindbergh kidnapping before returning to an Army career and rising to the rank of Major General.

Schwarzkopf's connection with the Persian Gulf region began very early. In 1946, when he was just 12, he and the rest of his family joined their father, stationed in Tehran, Iran, where his father went on to be instrumental in Operation Ajax. Graduating from Valley Forge Military Academy, Schwarzkopf was also a member of Mensa.

Schwarzkopf served as a task force adviser to the South Vietnamese Airborne Division. During that time he was promoted from Captain to Major. When his tour of duty in Vietnam was over, Major Schwarzkopf became a Lieutenant Colonel in 1968, the same year that he married Brenda Holsinger.

Schwarzkopf, in his memoir of his Vietnam years, "It Doesn't Take a Hero" said he staked his reputation as an officer who would risk his life for the soldiers under his command.

Schwarzkopf told his men that they might not like some of his strict rules, but it was for their own good. He told them "When you get on that plane to go home, if the last thing you think about me is 'I hate that son of a _____', then that is fine because you're going home alive."

Promoted to General in 1988, he was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Central Command. Based at MacDill Air Force Base, in Tampa, Florida, was responsible at the time for operations in the Horn of Africa, the Middle East and South Asia.

Schwarzkopf prepared a detailed plan for the defense of the oil fields of the Persian Gulf against a hypothetical invasion by Iraq, among other plans.

The Iraq plan served as the basis of the war game of 1990. Iraq invaded Kuwait and Schwarzkopf's plan had an immediate practical application, which was as the basis for Operation Desert Shield, the defense of Saudi Arabia. Operation Desert Storm (co-authored with his deputy commander, Lieutenant General Cal Waller and others on his staff), was the "left hook" strategy that went into Iraq behind the Iraqi forces occupying Kuwait and was widely credited with bringing the ground war to a close in just four days. Highly visible in the conduct of the war, he gave frequent press conferences and was dubbed "Stormin' Norman."

Schwarzkopf is survived by his wife and three children. 

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