He was an American warrior. H. Norman Schwarzkopf died Thursday. He was 78.

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Retired Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, who topped an illustrious military career  by commanding the U.S.-led international coalition that drove Saddam Hussein’s  forces out of Kuwait in 1991 but kept a low public profile in controversies over  the second Gulf War against Iraq, died Thursday. He was 78.

Schwarzkopf died in Tampa, Florida, where he had lived in retirement,  according to a U.S. official, who was not authorized to release the information  publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

A much-decorated combat soldier in Vietnam, Schwarzkopf was known popularly  as “Stormin’ Norman” for a notoriously explosive temper.

He served in his last military assignment in Tampa as commander-in-chief of  U.S. Central Command, the headquarters responsible for U.S. military and  security concerns in nearly 20 countries from the eastern Mediterranean and  Africa to Pakistan.

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.

Schwarzkopf was born Aug. 24, 1934, in Trenton, New Jersey, where his father,  Col. H. Norman Schwarzkopf Jr., founder and commander of the New Jersey State  Police, was then leading the investigation of the Lindbergh kidnap case, which  ended with the arrest and 1936 execution of German-born carpenter Richard  Hauptmann for stealing and murdering the famed aviator’s infant son.

The elder Schwarzkopf was named Herbert, but when the son was asked what his  “H” stood for, he would reply, “H.” Although reputed to be short-tempered with  aides and subordinates, he was a friendly, talkative and even jovial figure who  didn’t like “Stormin’ Norman” and preferred to be known as “the Bear,” a  sobriquet given him by troops.

He also was outspoken at times, including when he described Gen. William  Westmoreland, the U.S. commander in Vietnam, as “a horse’s ass” in an Associated  Press interview.

As a teenager Norman accompanied his father to Iran, where the elder  Schwarzkopf trained the country’s national police force and was an adviser to  Reza Pahlavi, the young Shah of Iran.

Young Norman studied there and in Switzerland, Germany and Italy, then  followed in his father’s footsteps to West Point, graduating in 1956 with an  engineering degree. After stints in the U.S. and abroad, he earned a master’s  degree in engineering at the University of Southern California and later taught  missile engineering at West Point.

In 1966 he volunteered for Vietnam and served two tours, first as a U.S.  adviser to South Vietnamese paratroops and later as a battalion commander in the  U.S. Army’s Americal Division. He earned three Silver Stars for valor —  including one for saving troops from a minefield — plus a Bronze Star, a Purple  Heart and three Distinguished Service Medals.

While many career officers left military service embittered by Vietnam,  Schwarzkopf was among those who opted to stay and help rebuild the tattered Army  into a potent, modernized all-volunteer force.

After Saddam invaded Kuwait in August 1990, Schwarzkopf played a key  diplomatic role by helping to persuade Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd to allow U.S.  and other foreign troops to deploy on Saudi territory as a staging area for the  war to come.

On Jan. 17, 1991, a five-month buildup called Desert Shield became Operation  Desert Storm as allied aircraft attacked Iraqi bases and Baghdad government  facilities. The six-week aerial campaign climaxed with a massive ground  offensive on Feb. 24-28, routing the Iraqis from Kuwait in 100 hours before U.S.  officials called a halt.

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.

But in a desert tent meeting with vanquished Iraqi generals, he allowed a key  concession on Iraq’s use of helicopters, which later backfired by enabling  Saddam to crack down more easily on rebellious Shiites and Kurds.

While he later avoided the public second-guessing by academics and think tank  experts over the ambiguous outcome of Gulf War I and its impact on Gulf War II,  he told the Washington Post in 2003, “You can’t help but… with 20/20  hindsight, go back and say, `Look, had we done something different, we probably  wouldn’t be facing what we are facing today.”‘

Schwarzkopf and his wife, Brenda, had three children: Cynthia, Jessica and  Christian.

Read more:  http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/12/27/gen-norman-schwarzkopf-who-led-coalition-forces-in-persian-gulf-war-dies/#ixzz2GJLi7pZy

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