Norman Schwarzkopf dies at 78



H Norman Schwarzkopf, the four-star Army general who led allied forces to a stunningly quick and decisive victory over Saddam Hussein's Iraqi military in the 1991 Persian Gulf War and who became the most celebrated US military hero of his generation, died Thursday in Tampa, Florida. He was 78.

Defence Secretary Leon Panetta confirmed the death in a statement. Schwarzkopf's sister, Ruth Barenbaum, told the Associated Press he had complications from pneumonia.

Little known outside the US military before Hussein's Republican Guard invaded Kuwait in early August 1990, Schwarzkopf planned and led one of the most lopsided military victories in modern military history.

Even before the rapid victory, the general was known as "Stormin' Norman" for his sometimes volcanic temper.

The campaign, designed to expel Hussein's forces and liberate Kuwait, commenced in January 1990 with a 43-day high-tech air assault on Iraq before a massive armored assault force launched a 100-hour ground offensive that inflicted swift and heavy losses on the Iraqis. Schwarzkopf commanded an allied force of more than 540,000 US troops and a total force of 765,000 from 28 countries, plus hundreds of ships and thousands of aircraft, armoured vehicles and tanks.

Broadcast to the nation nonstop on CNN, the war gave the nation and the world its first look at a new American military strategy that used precision-guided bombs dropped from hundreds of aircraft and Tomahawk cruise missiles launched from ships. Both Schwarzkopf and his boss at the Pentagon, Army General Colin Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, were Vietnam War veterans who had helped rebuild this force.

Schwarzkopf was accessible to the media throughout the war and became a familiar figure addressing reporters in his desert fatigues. He spoke in plain English, instead of using military jargon.

But the adulation he received from the American public quickly gave way to second-guessing by many historians, who questioned the decision by President George H W Bush and senior members of his administration to end the war after just four days, allowing Hussein to remain in power and much of his Republican Guard to retreat from Kuwait unscathed.

In a television interview after his triumphant return to the United States, Schwarzkopf claimed that he wanted to continue the war. But his assertion was sharply contested by Richard Cheney, then secretary of defence, and Powell, who said that Schwarzkopf had concurred in the decision by President George H W Bush and senior members of his administration to end the ground war after just four days.

Schwarzkopf, who retired in the summer of 1991, backed off his claim in his 1992 memoir, "It Doesn't Take a Hero," for which he received an advance of almost $6 million. He criticised unnamed civilians in the Bush administration for trying to hastily speed commencement of the ground war.

Rick Atkinson, in his 1993 book "Crusade: The Untold Story of the Persian Gulf War," described Schwarzkopf as a volcanic figure who threatened to fire numerous subordinates and often behaved like an imperial dictator. But he concluded that Schwarzkopf made "no significant error of strategy or tactic."

Schwarzkopf does not fare nearly as well in a new book by Thomas Ricks, "The Generals." Ricks faults Schwarzkopf for failing to understand strategic aspects of the war, allowing much of the Republican Guard to escape from Kuwait, and for allowing the Iraqis to fly armed helicopters over Iraq following the end of the ground campaign. Those helicopter gunships were subsequently used to attack and decimate anti-Hussein Shiite uprisings in southern Iraq and Kurdish protests in the north.

The future general was born in Trenton, N J, on August 22, 1934. His father, who was also an Army general, was named Herbert Norman Schwarzkopf, but he disliked his first name so much that he refused to pass it on to his son. So he was H Norman Schwarzkopf Jr.

The elder Schwarzkopf was the founding commander of the New Jersey State Police and was in charge of the investigation that led to the 1934 arrest of Bruno Richard Hauptmann, who was convicted and later executed for kidnapping and killing the toddler son of aviation hero Charles Lindbergh.

From the age of 4, the younger Schwarzkopf determined that he would follow his father to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N Y, and pursue a career as a soldier. He attended a military school in New Jersey, then spent five years overseas with his family from 1946 to 1951.

He spent a year in Iran, where his father trained a national police force and advised the shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, then lived in Switzerland, Germany and Italy. He spoke conversational German and French throughout his life.

After returning to the United States, he spent a year at the Valley Forge Military Academy in Wayne, Pa., before entering West Point, where he played football, wrestled and sang in the choir. Schwarzkopf, who directed a chapel choir of cadets at West Point — one of his first command positions — had a lifelong love of opera and music.

He graduated in the upper 10th of his class and entered the Army infantry. Between field assignments with airborne and infantry units, he received a master's degree in missile engineering from University of Southern California in 1964.

After a teaching stint at West Point, he went to Vietnam in 1965 as an adviser to Vietnamese airborne troops. He returned for a second tour in 1969 commanding an infantry battalion.

He received a Silver Star and won the respect of his troops for his courageous efforts to rescue soldiers wounded by land mines. In one case, he covered a writhing soldier with his own body, reportedly saying, "Take it easy, son. It's only broken."

In 1970, an errant artillery shell killed a sergeant under Schwarzkopf's command. The soldier's parents launched an investigation, which later become the inspiration for C D B. Bryan's 1976 book "Friendly Fire," which later became a movie. The parents held Schwarzkopf responsible at first, but Bryan portrayed him as an officer of honor and compassion and concluded that the killing was accidental.

"He's a good mud soldier," Lt. General William Carpenter Jr, who served with Schwarzkopf in Vietnam, told The New York Times in 1991. "The most important thing is that he cares about ground troops and he's not about to get them chewed up."

He received his first star as a brigadier general in 1978, then won widespread respect among military brass as deputy commander of the invasion of Grenada in 1983. He held several more high-profile jobs, became a four-star general in 1988 and was named commander of the U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.

In the late 1980s, with the Soviet empire collapsing, Schwarzkopf studied the likelihood of future wars and concluded that the Middle East would be the next hot spot. He planned for the possibility that the United States could become embroiled in regional disputes that crossed the borders of US allies.

In July 1990, he led military troops in elaborate war games built around a theoretical invasion of Kuwait by Iraq. Less than a week later, real Iraqi forces marched across the Kuwaiti border.

Schwarzkopf's survivors include his wife of 44 years, Brenda Holsinger Schwarzkopf; three children; and his sister.

Considered a master battlefield tactician who didn't wilt under fire, Schwarzkopf admitted that he felt fear in combat and didn't trust any soldier who didn't.

"Yes, I am antiwar," he told US News & World Report in 1991. "All you have to do is hold your first soldier who is dying in your arms, and have that terribly futile feeling that I can't do anything about it. . . . Then you understand the horror of war."

Arts & Entertainment
Shaun Evans as Endeavour interviews a prisoner as he tries to get to the bottom of a police cover up
tvReview: Second series comes to close with startling tale of police corruption and child abuse
Arts & Entertainment
A stranger calls: Martin Freeman in ‘Fargo’
Review: New 10-part series brims with characters and stories

Arts & Entertainment
Schwarzenegger winning Mr. Universe 1969
arts + entsCan you guess the celebrity from these British Pathe News clips?
Raheem Sterling and Luis Suarez celebrate during Liverpool's game with Norwich
football Another hurdle is out of the way for Brendan Rodgers' side
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Arts & Entertainment
The star of the sitcom ‘Miranda’ is hugely popular with mainstream audiences
TVMiranda Hart lined up for ‘Generation Game’ revival
Portrait of Queen Elizabeth-II by David Bailey which has been released to mark her 88th birthday
peoplePortrait released to mark monarch's 88th birthday
Life & Style
The writer, Gerda Saunders, with her mother, who also suffered with dementia before her death
healthGerda Saunders on the most formidable effect of her dementia
Manchester United manager David Moyes looks on during his side's defeat to Everton
footballBaines and Mirallas score against United as Everton keep alive hopes of a top-four finish
Tour de France 2014Sir Rodney Walker on organising the UK stages of this year’s race
Arts & Entertainment
Jessica Brown Findlay as Mary Yellan in ‘Jamaica Inn’
TVJessica Brown Findlay on playing the spirited heroine of Jamaica Inn
YouTube clocks up more than a billion users a month
mediaEuropean rival Dailymotion certainly thinks so
Arts & Entertainment
The original design with Charles' face clearly visible, which is on display around the capital
arts + ents The ad shows Prince Charles attired for his coronation in a crown and fur mantle with his mouth covered by a criss-cross of white duct tape
Arts & Entertainment
‘Self-Portrait Worshipping Christ’ (c943-57) by St Dunstan
books How British artists perfected the art of the self-portrait
Luis Suarez celebrates after scoring in Liverpool's 3-2 win over Norwich
Football Vine shows Suarez writhing in pain before launching counter attack
People White House officials refuse to make comment on 275,000 signatures that want Justin Bieber's US visa revoked
Sir Cliff Richard is to release his hundredth album at age 72
Lukas Podolski celebrates one of his two goals in Arsenal's win over Hull
Arts & Entertainment
Quentin Tarantino, director
The speeding train nearly hit this US politican during a lecture on rail safety
news As the saying goes, you have to practice what you preach
Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain (front) drives ahead of Red Bull Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia during the Chinese F1 Grand Prix at the Shanghai International circuit
Arts & Entertainment
Billie Jean King, who won the women’s Wimbledon title in 1967, when the first colour pictures were broadcast
Snow has no plans to step back or reduce his workload
mediaIt's 25 years since Jon Snow first presented Channel 4 News, and his drive shows no sign of diminishing
Life & Style
food + drinkWhat’s not to like?
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Geography Teacher

£130 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Ilford: Secondary Geography Teacher Lo...

Do you want to work in Education?

£55 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Are you a dynamic and energeti...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: SEN TAs, LSAs and Support Workers needed...

Private Client Senior Manager - Sheffield

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: The Sheffield office of this...

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit