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"Stormin' Norman - Operation 'Desert Storm'"

Norman Schwarzkopf Jr.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the Persian Gulf War general. For his father and lead investigator in the Lindbergh kidnapping, see Norman Schwarzkopf Sr.
H. Norman Schwarzkopf
Schwarzkopf in November 1988
Birth name Herbert Norman Schwarzkopf Jr.
Nickname(s) "Stormin' Norman"[1]
"The Bear"[1]
Born August 22, 1934
TrentonNew Jersey, U.S.
Died December 27, 2012 (aged 78)
TampaFlorida, U.S.
Buried at West Point CemeteryWest Point,New York, U.S.
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch  United States Army
Years of service 1956–1991
Rank US-O10 insignia.svg General
Commands held 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry
1st Brigade, 9th Infantry Division
24th Mechanized Infantry Division
I Corps
U.S. Central Command
Battles/wars Vietnam War
Invasion of Grenada
Persian Gulf War
Awards Defense Distinguished Service Medal
Army Distinguished Service Medal
Navy Distinguished Service Medal
Air Force Distinguished Service Medal
Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal
Silver Star
Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Distinguished Flying Cross
Bronze Star Medal
Purple Heart
Presidential Medal of Freedom
Congressional Gold Medal
Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (Honorary)
Spouse(s) Brenda (Holsinger) Schwarzkopf
Relations Norman Schwarzkopf Sr.
Signature Norman Schwarzkopf signature.svg

H. Norman Schwarzkopf Jr. (/ˈʃwɔːrtskɒf/; August 22, 1934 – December 27, 2012) was a United States Army general. While serving as Commander-in-ChiefUnited States Central Command, he led all coalition forces in the Persian Gulf War.

Born in Trenton, New Jersey, Schwarzkopf grew up in the United States and later in Iran. He was accepted into the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Army in 1956. After a number of initial training programs, Schwarzkopf interrupted a stint as an academy teacher, and served in the Vietnam War first as an adviser to the South Vietnamese Army and later as a battalion commander. Schwarzkopf was highly decorated in Vietnam, being awarded three Silver Star Medals, two Purple Hearts, and the Legion of Merit. Rising through the ranks after the conflict, he later commanded the U.S. 24th Infantry Division and was one of the commanders of the Invasion of Grenada in 1983.

Assuming command of United States Central Command in 1988, Schwarzkopf was called on to respond to the Invasion of Kuwait in 1990 by the forces of Iraq under Saddam Hussein. Initially tasked with defending Saudi Arabia from Iraqi aggression, Schwarzkopf's command eventually grew to an international force of over 750,000 troops. After diplomatic relations broke down, he planned and led Operation Desert Storm—an extended air campaign followed by a highly successful 100-hour ground offensive—which destroyed the Iraqi Army and liberated Kuwait in early 1991. Highly regarded for these exploits, Schwarzkopf became a national hero and was presented with many military honors for what historians termed one of the most successful campaigns in U.S. military history.

Schwarzkopf retired shortly after the end of the war and undertook a number of philanthropic ventures, only occasionally stepping into the political spotlight before his death from complications of pneumonia in late 2012. Known for being a hard-driving military commander with a strong temper, Schwarzkopf was nonetheless considered an exceptional leader by biographers and was noted for his abilities as a military diplomat and in dealing with the press.

Early life and education

Schwarzkopf was born Herbert Norman Schwarzkopf Jr. on August 22, 1934 in Trenton, New Jersey, to Herbert Norman Schwarzkopf Sr.[2][3] and Ruth Alice (née Bowman).[4][5] His father was a German-American[6]1917 graduate of the United States Military Academy and veteran of World War I.[7] His mother was a housewife from West Virginia who was distantly related to Thomas Jefferson.[6] The senior Schwarzkopf later became the Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, where he worked as a lead investigator on the 1932 Lindbergh baby kidnapping case.[7] In January 1952, the younger Schwarzkopf's birth certificate was amended to make his name "H. Norman Schwarzkopf", reportedly because his father detested his first name.[8][Note 1] The younger Schwarzkopf had two older sisters, Ruth Ann and Sally Joan.[11][12]

Herbert Norman Schwarzkopf Sr., father to H. Norman Schwarzkopf

Norman Schwarzkopf was described by childhood friends as active and assertive, protective of his sisters and a skilled athlete.[11][13] He spent his childhood attached to his father, who subsequently became the narrator for the Gang Busters radio program. When Norman Schwarzkopf was eight years old, his father returned to the military amid World War II.[14][15] His continuous absence made home life difficult, particularly for his wife.[16] As a 10-year-old cadet at Bordentown Military Institute, near Trenton, he posed for his official photograph wearing a stern expression because – as he said afterwards – "Some day when I become a general, I want people to know that I’m serious." In 1946, when Norman Schwarzkopf was 12, he moved with his father to Tehran, Iran.[17] In Iran, Norman learned shooting, horseback riding, and hunting.[18] Schwarzkopf developed a lifelong interest in Middle Eastern culture.[19] The family moved to Geneva, Switzerland, in 1947, following a new military assignment for Herbert Schwarzkopf.[20] The senior Schwarzkopf visited Italy, HeidelbergFrankfurt,[21] and Berlin, Germany during his military duties, and the younger Schwarzkopf accompanied him. By 1951 he had returned to Iran briefly before returning to the United States. Herbert Schwarzkopf died in 1958.[22] From a young age, Norman wanted to be a military officer, following his father's example.[10]

He attended the Community High School in Tehran, later the International School of Geneva,[23] and briefly Frankfurt American High School, in Frankfurt, Germany (1948-49), and Heidelberg American High School, in Heidelberg, Germany (1949-50).[24] He finally graduated from Valley Forge Military Academy.[Note 2] He was also a member of Mensa.[26]Schwarzkopf graduated valedictorian out of his class of 150,[27] and his IQ was tested at 168.[28][29] Schwarzkopf then attended the United States Military Academy, where he playedfootball, wrestled, sang and conducted the West Point Chapel choir.[26] His large frame, 6 feet 3 inches (1.91 m) in height and weighing 240 pounds (110 kg), was advantageous in athletics.[30] In his plebe year he was given the nickname "Schwarzie," the same as his father, and he was often pushed by older cadets to imitate his father's radio show as a traditional act of hazing. Schwarzkopf also gained a great respect for certain military leaders at West Point, notably Ulysses S. GrantWilliam Tecumseh Sherman and Creighton Abrams, believing them excellent commanders who nonetheless did not glorify war.[31][32] He graduated 43rd of 480 in the class of 1956 with a Bachelor of Engineering degree.[2][Note 3]



Persian Gulf War

Main article: Gulf War
U.S. President George H. W. Bushriding in a Humvee with General Schwarzkopf in Saudi Arabia

Initially believing the Iraqi Army would only advance to the Ramallah oil field, Schwarzkopf was surprised when the Iraqis captured Kuwait City.[78][79] Fearing Iraq would next invade Saudi Arabia, Schwarzkopf ordered contingency plans put in motion, with the 82nd Airborne Division, 101st Airborne Division and 24th Infantry Division put on alert. He was then called to an emergency meeting with President George H. W. Bush (also a combatveteran), where his Internal Look '90 strategic plans were made the basis of a potential counteroffensive plan. By August 5, Bush opted for an aggressive response to the invasion. Schwarzkopf then accompanied Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney to meet with Saudi King Fahd to convince him to allow U.S. troops into Saudi Arabia to counter the Iraqi military.[80][81] With Fahd's consent, Bush ordered troops into Saudi Arabia on August 7, initially tasked to defend Saudi Arabia should Iraq attack.[82] U.S. commanders from the beginning wanted a quick conflict characterized by decisive, overwhelming force, as opposed to the gradual escalation of U.S. involvement as had been seen in Vietnam.[83] Schwarzkopf in particular was very adamant that many of the policies governing military operations in Vietnam, especially slow escalation of air power and troop force, not reoccur. His plan for direct and overwhelming force was initially criticized in Washington as uncreative.[84] By August 13, the news media began to closely cover Schwarzkopf, who had been named to lead the operation.[1]

Operation Desert Shield

From his headquarters in Tampa, Schwarzkopf began planning the operations to defend Saudi Arabia. Lieutenant General Charles Horner, USAF, ran the headquarters in Riyadh.[85] Schwarzkopf planned supply lines for the 50,000 troops initially sent to Saudi Arabia, tapping Major General William G. Pagonis as director of the logistical operations, with U.S. Air Force cargo aircraft landing supplies at Dhahran and U.S. Navy ships offloading troops and supplies at Dammam.[86] By August 20, 20,000 U.S. troops were in Saudi Arabia, with another 80,000 preparing to deploy, and a further 40,000 reserves tapped to augment them.[87] Schwarzkopf arrived at the CENTCOM command in Riyadh on August 25,[88] and on August 29 he conducted his first front-line tour of the potential combat zone, accompanied by reporters. Over the next several weeks, Schwarzkopf spoke frequently with both reporters and troops under his command, conducting many high-profile press conferences and updates to the situation in Saudi Arabia. Schwarzkopf worked to help coordinate the contributions of the different nations contributing military forces to the effort.[89] By mid-October, Schwarzkopf indicated he was confident the forces were of a sufficient level that they could defend Saudi Arabia if it was attacked.[90] Through October, Schwarzkopf and his command were occupied with setting up facilities and supply lines for the troops streaming into Saudi Arabia. He also worked to minimize the culture clash among foreigners in sharia-dominated Saudi Arabia, such as the high visibility of women in military roles. Schwarzkopf remained at his command in Riyadh through December, making frequent frontline visits to the troops.[87] On December 29, 1990, he received a warning order from The Pentagon to be ready to attack into Iraq and Kuwait by January 17.[91]

Schwarzkopf talks with GeneralColin PowellChairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, during a press conference regarding the Gulf War.

Initially, Operation Desert Shield involved a sea interdiction campaign that saw international warships detaining and inspecting tankers from Iraq. As the buildup continued, Schwarzkopf was occupied with planning an offensive operation against the Iraqi units along the border, sometimes working 18-hour days in planning, assisted by a close group of aides. He frequently met with subordinates and Saudi commanders. Schwarzkopf planned counters both for Iraq's large armored forces and air forces, as well as its elite Republican Guard forces.[92][93] While planning, Schwarzkopf remained in frequent contact with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Colin Powell(both Vietnam veterans) concerning Schwarzkopf's plans for the offensive.[94] Schwarzkopf devised an operational plan, dubbed "Operation Desert Storm," to be based on overwhelming force and strong infantry attacks supported by artillery and armor. It incorporated the desert warfare strategies used by British commander Bernard Montgomery in his defeat of German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel at the Second Battle of El Alamein in World War II. By November 8, Bush agreed to commit 400,000 U.S. troops to Saudi Arabia at Schwarzkopf's insistence.[95] Schwarzkopf believed larger numbers of troops would reduce the likelihood of high casualties.[96] He planned a strategic bombing campaign to precede an offensive into Kuwait,[97] simultaneously striking the forward Iraqi forces and their supply lines. In the meantime, diplomatic solutions began to break down, and the deadline established by the United Nations Security Council, January 15, 1991, passed without a solution.[95]

By this time, Schwarzkopf commanded an international army of 750,000,[57] comprising 500,000 U.S. troops and 250,000 troops from other nations, as well as thousands of main battle tanks, combat aircraft and six carrier battle groups. Most of the U.S. and allied forces, however, were not combat veterans, and Schwarzkopf and the other allied commanders wanted to fight cautiously to minimize casualties.[98] Schwarzkopf's experience in the Middle East allowed him to understand the factors surrounding the conflict, including allied commanders, with greater ease. He had a good relationship with Saudi commander Khalid bin Sultan, who in turn helped Schwarzkopf win over the Saudi Arabian populace.[99] In spite of the cooperation, he later said he considered the Arab troops to be the least effective of the war.[100] Schwarzkopf also had an agreeable relationship with his deputy commander, Lieutenant General Cal Waller, who handled much of the administrative burden. Peter de la Billière, commander of the British contingent, and Michel Roquejeoffre, commander of the French contingent, also cooperated well with Schwarzkopf. The good relationship between the allied commanders meant their forces were able to cooperate effectively during the operation.[101]

Operation Desert Storm

Schwarzkopf speaks with troops supporting Operation Desert Shield in 1991

The air campaign against Iraq began on January 17, 1991, after 139 days of planning and buildup.[102][103] Schwarzkopf sent a prepared statement to the troops ahead of the first airstrikes, which were timed to hit their targets at 02:40. He oversaw the strikes from his war room in Riyadh, then emerged from his command center late in the day on January 18 to speak to the press, saying the air war had gone "just about exactly as we had intended it to go". He then began making frequent briefings to the media to increase press coverage of the results.[104] He declined to measure the success of the campaign by counting suspected Iraqi casualties, believing this would undermine his credibility.[105] The air campaign proved to be a success by achieving air superiority and destroying the Iraqi military's communications network, supplies, as well as many tanks and armored vehicles.[106] By January 20 he announced Iraq's nuclear test reactors had been destroyed, and by January 27 he announced that the coalition had total air superiority in Iraq.[107] Bush then gave Hussein an ultimatum to withdraw from Kuwait by 12:00 on February 23 or Schwarzkopf's ground forces would attack.[108]

Ground troop movements February 24–28, 1991 during Operation Desert Storm

Schwarzkopf began his ground campaign in earnest at 04:00 on February 24, with the Saudi-led Arab forces attacking into Kuwait City, while two U.S. Marine Corps divisions struck at the oil fields, and the VII Corps and XVIII Airborne Corps on the left flank struck quickly to cut off the Iraqi forces from the west, which would later be known as his "Left Hook" strategy. Schwarzkopf expected the war to last several weeks, and had anticipated chemical weapon attacks by the Iraqi forces, which did not occur. Resistance was lighter than Schwarzkopf expected, and Iraqi troops surrendered in large numbers.[109][110] Within 90 hours, his force had destroyed 42 of 50 Iraqi Army divisions at a cost of about 125 killed and 200 wounded among American troops,[111] and about 482 killed, 458 wounded among all of the coalition.[112] He ordered his forces to destroy as much Iraqi armor and equipment as possible in order to ensure the country's military would be weakened in the long term.[113]Schwarzkopf, who had ordered a media blackout during the ground offensive, finally appeared before journalists on February 27 to explain his strategy. On March 3 he arrived in Kuwait City to survey the aftermath of the Iraqi occupation and negotiate a ceasefire with Iraqi military leaders, as well as work out the return of prisoners of war on both sides.[111][114][115] With this in place, he then began the process of overseeing U.S. troops returning from the conflict.[116][117]


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For his services during the war, he was welcomed back to America with a large parade down Broadway in New York, along with other honors. Schwarzkopf led a highly publicized homecoming parade in Washington, D.C., on June 8, 1991, where he was greeted by Bush amid thousands of onlookers.[118] His accomplishments were praised in a manner much differently from commanders who returned from the Vietnam and Korean Wars. He became an instant national celebrity and the source of great curiosity by the general public. He was quick to award praise and medals to the troops, part of what he saw as restoring pride in the U.S. armed forces after the Vietnam War.[119]



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