Schwarzkopf remembered as leader, hero

December 28, 2012 3:11:08 PM PST
The country is mourning the loss of one of its most celebrated heroes - retired general H. Norman Schwarzkopf died Friday at the age 78.

On Friday, some Chicagoans who knew and worked with Schwarzkopf shared their thoughts on the legacy he left behind.

He got the nickname 'Stormin' Norman' because of his fiery temper. His troops affectionately called him "the bear".

Many are remembering Schwarzkopf, the American commander who some say is the military hero of his generation.

Retired Col. Eugene Scott reminisces about a comrade lost as he remembers his friend, General Norman Schwarzkopf.

"He was a very intelligent man, superb combat leader, superb tactician," said Col. Eugene Scott, a Schwarzkopf aide and friend.

Schwarzkopf, 78, died Thursday at his home in Tampa Florida of complications from pneumonia.

Scott first met the no-nonsense Desert Storm commander early in his military career while in Germany.

In 1984, General Schwarzkopf named Scott the first black post commander at Fort Stewart in Georgia.

"He identified what he thought were the best soldiers and that's who he took with him. it didn't matter about color," said Scott.

Schwarzkopf had an illustrious military career highlighted by commanding Operation Desert Storm, the U.S.-led international coalition that drove Saddam Hussein's Iraqi forces out of Kuwait in 1991.

The son of the head of the New Jersey state police, Schwarzkopf was born in 1934 in Trenton, New Jersey.

Schwarzkopf studied overseas and graduated from West Point with a degree in engineering.

He volunteered for Vietnam and served two tours earning a Purple Heart among other awards. Fellow Vietnam vets say he never forgot the experience.

"There wasn't a lot of honor and respect for veterans, but after winning in Desert Storm, the country really rallied behind our troops," said Ron Gibbs of the National Veterans Art Museum.

After retiring from the army in 1992, the four-star general wrote a bestselling autobiography - it does not take a hero, and although, Schwarzkopf avoided politics and the public eye, historians say he leaves a legacy of honor, excellence and commitment.

"General Schwarzkopf's history is one that is well known but will probably something people will be writing about and researching for years to come," said Kenneth Clarke with the Pritzker Military Library. The library has an educational section about the general, who after retiring became a national spokesperson for prostate cancer awareness and was active in various charities for chronically ill children.

The general is survived by his wife Brenda and their children.


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