Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, who commanded Operation Desert Storm, the coalition of 30 countries that drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait in 1991, died today at 78, the Associated Press reported.
The cause was complications from pneumonia, the New York Times reported. Schwarzkopf was successfully treated for prostate cancer in 1993.
Nicknamed “Stormin’ Norman” because he could be brusque, Schwarzkopf helped convince Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd to allow foreign troops to use Saudi territory as a staging area in the buildup to Desert Storm, the AP reported.
Once the war began, it lasted only six weeks, as coalition air raids pulverized Iraq’s infrastructure and overwhelmed Saddam Hussein’s troops, the New York Times reported.
According to the New York Times:
A combat-tested, highly decorated career officer who had held many commands, served two battlefield tours in Vietnam and coordinated American landing forces in the 1983 invasion of Grenada, [Schwarzkopf] came home to a tumultuous welcome, including a glittering ticker-tape parade up Broadway in the footsteps of Lindbergh, MacArthur and the moon-landing Apollo astronauts.
Schwarzkopf retired to live in Tampa soon after the Persian Gulf War, and was ambivalent about the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, the AP reported. He told the Washington Post in 2003: “What’s 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.”
"Barbara and I mourn the loss of a true American patriot and one of the great military leaders of his generation,” President George H.W. Bush, who is currently hospitalized, said in a statement today, according to Politico. “A distinguished member of that Long Gray Line hailing from West Point, 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. More than that, he was a good and decent man — and a dear friend.”