Desert Storm Commander Norman Schwarzkopf Dies At 78

Retired General Norman Schwarzkopf, who headed up the international military coalition in 1991 that liberated Kuwait from the forces of Saddam Hussein, died today in Tampa, Florida. As the head of US Central Command (responsible for operations in the Middle East and other regions of the world), his strategy was credited with bringing the ground war against the Iraqi army to a successful close in just four days.

According to AP, “A much-decorated combat soldier in Vietnam, Schwarzkopf was known popularly as ‘Stormin’ Norman’ for a notoriously explosive temper.” The general, like his father, was a graduate of West Point and lived as a teenager in Iran where his father trained that country’s national police force.

A statement from former President George H.W. Bush says that Gen. Schwarzkopf was “a good and decent man — and a dear friend.”

AP provides additional background on General Schwarzkopf’s leadership during the Persian Gulf War:

“Schwarzkopf became ‘CINC-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 …

“Schwarzkopf said afterward he agreed with Bush’s decision to stop the war rather than drive to Baghdad to capture Saddam, as his mission had been only to oust the Iraqis from Kuwait.”

Watch an FNC breaking news report on the death of Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, who led Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm:

Watch a 1991 briefing from Gen. Schwarzkopf on how the allied coalition won the Gulf war: