Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Stormin' Norman dies at 78:

Decorated: Schwarzkopf was honored by President George H.W. Bush, Congress, Queen Elizabeth II and the governments of nearly every coalition nation where he served

Retired 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.

The 78-year-old succumbed to complications from pneumonia on Thursday in Tampa, Florida, where he lived in retirement.

His large personality and public prominence during the nation's first live-broadcast war made him the the most recognizable, and acclaimed, military commander since Dwight Eisenhower and Douglas MacArthur.

A much-decorated combat soldier in Vietnam, Schwarzkopf was known popularly as 'Stormin' Norman' for his notoriously explosive temper.

During the 1991 Persian Gulf War, he was the public face of the coalition forces who ousted Saddam Hussein's forces from Kuwait.

He was also the mastermind behind the mechanics of Operations Desert Storm, co-authoring the official strategy of the defense of Saudi Arabia, as well as the combat operations in Kuwait and Iraq.

After the war, his popularity was nearly immeasurable. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George H.W. Bush, was given a standing ovation by Congress and was bestowed an honorary knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II.

He was offered the job of Chief of Staff - the top position in the U.S. Army - but turned it down. He retired from active duty in August 1991 - just six moths after the conclusion of the war.

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

Schwarzkopf became Commander-in-Chief of '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 then-President George H.W. Bush that succeeded in driving the Iraqis out.

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.

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