Editorial: Schwarzkopf epitome of US military general

For the entire first Gulf War, U.S. Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf was the face of a valiant and successful U.S. military.

Schwarzkopf, who died Thursday at 78 from complications from pneumonia, commanded Operation Desert Storm, the U.S.-led coalition that drove Saddam Hussein's forces out of Kuwait in 1991.

Despite his postwar popularity, Schwarzkopf resisted efforts to get him to run for office. And while he initially supported the second Gulf War against Iraq, he later expressed reservations about that conflict and criticized then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the Pentagon for mistakes that included inadequate training for Army reservists sent to Iraq.

Those close to the general described him as a friendly and even jovial figure. His troops affectionately called him "The Bear," a nickname he preferred to a more common moniker, "Stormin' Norman," given for his quick temper with aides and subordinates.

A West Point graduate, Schwarzkopf served two tours in Vietnam and earned three Silver Stars for valor, plus a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart and three Distinguished Service Medals. He retired as commander-in-chief of U.S. Central Command.

In retirement, he was involved in charities, served on the Nature Conservancy's board of governors and was a national spokesman for prostate cancer awareness.

In his best-selling autobiography, "It Doesn't Take A Hero," he said, "I like to say I'm not a hero. I was lucky enough to lead a very successful war."

And while success makes admiration easy, Schwarzkopf through his life and actions was the epitome of what a U.S. general should be — an honest, highly respected man who served his country with honor.

— Albuquerque Journal

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