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Avatar of GI KoreaBy on December 28th, 2012 at 5:48 am

Norman Schwarzkopf Passes Away At Age 78

» by in: US Military

A modern American military legend Norman Schwarzkopf has passed away at the age of 78 from complication from pneumonia:

H. Norman Schwarzkopf, the retired general credited with leading U.S.-allied forces to a victory in the first Gulf War, has died at age 78, a U.S. official confirmed to ABC News.

He died today in Tampa, Fla., a U.S. official told the Associated Press.

Schwarzkopf, sometimes called “Stormin’ Norman” because of his temper, actually led Republican administrations to two military victories: a small one in Grenada in the 1980s and a big one as de facto commander of allied forces in the Gulf War in 1991.

“‘Stormin’ Norman’ led the coalition forces to victory, ejecting the Iraqi Army from Kuwait and restoring the rightful government,” read a statement by former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Gulf War. “His leadership not only inspired his troops, but also inspired the nation.”  [ABC News]

You can read the rest about General Schwarzkopf at the link, but something I found interesting reading through his biography was that in 35 years of service he had no assignments to Korea.  I have heard before people claim that general officers think an assignment in Korea hinders their career. Can anyone think of some recent big name generals that had assignments to Korea? General Russel Honore’ is one I can think of but he only became well known because of Hurricane Katrina.  If it wasn’t for the hurricane no one would have heard of him.

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  • Bob
    6:17 am on December 28th, 2012 1

    Well, he had planned for a major conflict and got lucky and it happened. That’s what made him famous. There are many 4 star generals who I’m sure served in Korea at some point and time.

  • MAJ K
    7:16 am on December 28th, 2012 2

    He was born into take command of CENTCOM. His father was in Iran during WW II and in the 50s to help establish Shah monarchy. I think he lived in Tehran when he was a teenager. His father also had connection to Saudi royal family.

    As LT, he was in the West Berlin BDE. AS a LTC, he was Bn CO in the Americal Div in Vietnam.

    As for famous GO in Korea, GEN Colin Powell was Bn CO in the 2nd ID.

  • Avatar of GI KoreaGI Korea
    7:25 am on December 28th, 2012 3

    MAJ K, you are right, I forgot about Colin Powell he definitely qualifies as a well known GO that served in Korea. I am thinking though of a GO that served in Korea as a GO or even a Brigade Commander and went on to take a prestigious assignment that caused him to become well known.

  • John in NY
    8:07 am on December 28th, 2012 4

    Wow, I remember when the first Gulf War happened. I was glued to the tv. That’s when Schwarzkopf and Colin Powell became my first war heroes.

  • Glans
    10:41 am on December 28th, 2012 5

    MAJ K, establishing the Shah monarchy in Iran was a P-poor idea. Of course, we can’t blame “Stormin’ Norman” for his dad following the national policy of the time.

  • Liz
    11:54 am on December 28th, 2012 6

    The squadron commander at Osan back when my husband was stationed there (and I tagged along, non-command-sponsored) is a three star General now, Baba Rand. He was great.

    Sorry to hear about Schwarzkopf. :-(

  • tom langley
    12:50 pm on December 28th, 2012 7

    General Schwarzkopf was a great American military leader who didn’t take bs or kiss anybody’s piper. If he had been commander of American forces in Afghanistan and/or Iraq the wars would have been over with years ago & many Americans who have been killed or maimed would not have been. This is of course assuming that we would have had a commander-in-chief who would have let him do the job. A story I read about GS said that after the Gulf war that there was an Iraqi airfield that the general thought that we had captured & he wanted to meet his Iraqi foes there. Well it turns out that the airfield had not been captured. He ordered some tanks to go up to the airfield & intimidated the Iraqis to leave. He didn’t care what anyone thought.

  • tom langley
    1:02 pm on December 28th, 2012 8

    I forgot to add that during the 1991 Gulf War that I was stationed at the Landstuhl Army Regional Medical Center (LARMC) in Germany. Before the ground war kicked off people speculated as to what the ground war battle plan would be. There was a SPC who had been in South West Asia who was in the hospital for a non-combat medical problem. He guessed correctly about Gen Schwarzkopf’s left hook westward run around the Iraqi forces. When he came up with the idea everybody thought the idea was brilliant. Anyway after the ground war had successfully concluded we all jokingly called him “general”.

  • JoeC
    1:48 pm on December 28th, 2012 9


    “If he had been commander of American forces in Afghanistan and/or Iraq the wars would have been over with years ago & many Americans who have been killed or maimed would not have been. This is of course assuming that we would have had a commander-in-chief who would have let him do the job.”

    There is still some second guessing about whether “his war”, Gulf War I, was ended prematurely.

    On the decision of then-President Bush and Army Gen. Colin L. Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Schwarzkopf agreed to end the war short of demolishing the Republican Guard and taking down Saddam Hussein — a decision that would dog him for the rest of his life, especially as the U.S. went to war once again against Iraq in 2003.

    To the end, Schwarzkopf insisted he had accepted the decision as the right one, even if he had not embraced it with enthusiasm — continuing to inflict carnage on retreating Iraqi forces for another day would have done little to upset the balance of power in the region and might have risked more American casualties, he said.

    The problem with wars today is military and political leaders just don’t know when and how to end them.

  • tbonetylr
    4:14 pm on December 28th, 2012 10

    Media over-hype and new imagery of missiles hitting targets is the reason for his rock star fame. I saw him once at a Colorado ski resort eating lunch alone, it’s the hotel he sometimes appeared on early morning news shows.

  • chefantwon
    5:49 pm on December 28th, 2012 11

    The nice thing about Schwarzkopf, other than those few appearences, you never heard high nor hair of the man. He did his job, retired and just went back to being an ordinary person.

  • Chris In Dallas
    7:38 pm on December 28th, 2012 12

    Schwartzkopf’s career followed the typical career progression for a Cold War Era Army officer. He bounced between CONUS and Germany assignments with Vietnam time when Vietnam was a going concern.

    In his autobiography he notes he was given a choice of three different 4 star commands. Those were FORSCOM, USFK/EUSA and CENTCOM. He decided not to go for FORSCOM because the command was fairly old with a bureaucracy entrenched in cement. He stated he didn’t want the Korea job because although it looked huge and important on paper, the vast majority of his units were ROK Army and he had his doubts whether he would really command them if the shooting started (probably a reasonable assessment). In the end he wanted CENTCOM because it had few combat units in it at any particular time, it seemed like the place where the action would be. Guess he called that right!

    As to the 4 star Korea command not being the place to be, that’s probably right. The normal progression for a 4 star after such a command would be Army Chief of Staff or Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. With some exceptions right after the Korean War, those assignments seem to never go to the Korea commander.

  • The Joker
    8:30 pm on December 28th, 2012 13

    USFK is where mediocre generals go to die.

  • bobt592959
    12:54 am on December 29th, 2012 14

    rest in peace general

  • LG DACOM Stinks, Royally
    1:36 pm on December 30th, 2012 15

    Tommy Franks was the USFK J3 and then the 2ID commander.

  • Glans
    3:18 pm on December 30th, 2012 16

    Tommy Franks didn’t get Osama bin Ladin but later addressed the Republican National Convention.


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