General H. Norman Schwarzkopf
General H. Norman Schwarzkopf is the American military leader who headed the international coalition that liberated Kuwait from Iraqi invasion forces during the 1991 Persian Gulf War.
General H. Norman Schwarzkopf
Biographical fast facts
Full or original name at birth: Herbert Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr.*
Error corrections or clarifications
* It has long been reported that Schwarzkopf was born "H. Norman Schwarzkopf" because his father detested his first name. While it certainly is true that his father disliked his given name Herbert, he still named his son Herbert Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr., as his birth certificate originally
revealed. In January of 1952, his birth certificate was officially changed to show his name "H. Norman Schwarzkopf" excising both Herbert and Jr. from his name.
Quotes - In his own words
"It doesn't take a hero to order men into battle. It takes a hero to be one of those men who goes into battle."
The most in-depth of more than four dozen sources consulted in preparing this profile:
Biography - Hobbies
H. Norman Schwarzkopf graduated June 5th, 1956, from the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York. He went on to obtain his Master's degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Southern California (USC) in 1964. His studies focused on guided missile engineering, and also seeing the future potential of computers, he did coursework in computers. He later attended the United States Army War College in the early 1970s.
While primarily known to many as the Commander of the coalition that liberated Kuwait from Iraqi occupation, General Schwarzkopf's military career actually stretched back more than three decades. He was a highly-decorated officer who served two tours of duty in Vietnam (1965-66, 1969-70), and was deputy task force commander of the 1983 U.S. invasion of Grenada following a Cuban-backed coup on that Caribbean island nation. November 18th, 1988 he became a four-star general and was appointed commander of the U.S. Central Command, which included military operations in the Middle East. His father, who had also risen to the rank of general, had spent a good deal of time in the Middle East. As a result, Schwarzkopf recognized the growing strategic importance of the region, and had specifically requested the position.
Not a commander to sit safely ensconced in the rear while his troops faced danger; Schwarzkopf earned a reputation as an officer who would risk his life for the soldiers under his command. This was just one of the many qualities that inspired such an incredible level of morale among his troops.
In 1990, Iraq, then led by Saddam Hussein, invaded its neighbor to the south, Kuwait. President George Bush marshaled a 30 nation coalition to oppose Iraq's invasion. General Schwarzkopf was in charge of the effort, which included the buildup of more than half a million troops from the aforementioned 30 nations, and was termed Operation Desert Shield. Following the passing of a United Nations (UN) deadline demanding Iraq's withdraw from Kuwait by January 15th, 1991, the operation became known as Desert Storm. After a devastating series of air attacks against Iraq, the ground war began. Iraq's defeat was swift, with thousands of Saddam Hussein's troops surrendering without a fight. Iraq's troops were driven out of Kuwait, with the ground portion of the war lasting just 100 hours. Coalition forces suffered fewer than 200 deaths, with Iraq's casualties numbering in the tens of thousands.
Numerous prestigious awards were bestowed upon him following the successful outcome of the war. "On July 3, 1991, President Bush, assisted by Mrs. Bush, awarded me the Presidential Medal of Freedom." The honors came not only from the United States, but grateful nations around the world lined up to confer some of their highest honors on General Schwarzkopf.
After his successful command of Desert Storm operations, he returned home to jubilant public celebrations and victory parades around the country, then retired at the end of August 1991.
His autobiography, It Doesn't Take a Hero, co-written with Peter Petre, was published in 1992. There was much speculation of Schwarzkopf running for political office, possibly even the presidency, but he did not do so, saying, "I absolutely have no desire to go into politics. I hate politics." Schwarzkopf later served as a military analyst for NBC news.
In retirement, medical problems slowed him up a bit as he successfully battled prostate cancer, and later had knee replacement surgery. While in his 70s, he once commented, "I've got all the problems that old men have." General Schwarzkopf divided his time between his Florida home and a home in the mountains of Colorado. Though much of his time was spent in Florida working on his various charitable projects, he often yearned to spend more time with his family at their place at Ski Ranches, near Telluride, Colorado.
During his retirement he also served as host of the cable television news magazine, World Business Review & Health Journal Television, and as co-chairman of the board of the Telluride Foundation.
Back in the 1990s, General Schwarzkopf joined fellow sporting clay enthusiasts in establishing the Children's Home Sporting Clays Classic (now popularly known as the Schwarzkopf Classic). The fundraiser benefits the Children's Home in Tampa, Florida. The Children's Home was founded more than a century ago and is dedicated to helping children who are victims of abuse, neglect or abandonment.
Another of his favorite charities was one that he actually helped found in 1996. Camp Boggy Creek in Eustis, Florida (north of Orlando), each year offers thousands of seriously ill kids weeklong summer camp sessions and family retreat weekends for the whole family. This is all done at no cost to their families. Camp Boggy Creek is a "Hole in The Wall Camp" and was patterned after Paul Newman's original Hole in The Wall Gang Camp in northeastern Connecticut. Newman was also one of the co-founders of Camp Boggy Creek.
Gen. Schwarzkopf's been tagged with several nicknames over the years, including "Schwarzie," a nickname his father also carried through West Point, "Black Smoke 6," "Colonel Nazi," and the more familiar "Stormin' Norman" and "Bear."
He had a passion for magic, winemaking, hunting, skeet shooting, fishing, camping, hiking, skiing, rafting, was a proficient handyman, a voracious reader, and has also enjoyed blackjack. In his early years, he sang in choir, wrestled, played football, soccer, and tennis.
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