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General H. Norman Schwarzkopf
General H. Norman Schwarzkopf is the American
military leader who headed the international
coalition that liberated Kuwait from Iraqi
invasion forces during the 1991 Persian Gulf War.
His masterful planning and execution of
Desert Shield and Desert Storm are credited
with freeing Kuwait with a minimum number
of coalition deaths (less than 200), in an
extraordinarily brief (100 hour) ground war.
General Schwarzkopf's career in the U.S. Army
stretched from 1956 to 1991.
| General H. Norman Schwarzkopf
Biographical fast facts
Full or original name at birth: Herbert Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr.*
Date, time and place of birth: August 22, 1934,
at 4:45 a.m., Trenton, New Jersey, U.S.A.**
Date, place and cause of death: (Alive as of 2012)
Wife: Brenda Pauline Holsinger (m. July 6, 1968)
Wedding took place at the West Point chapel,
United States Military Academy, West Point, New York, U.S.A.
Son: Christian Schwarzkopf (b. June 20, 1977)
Daughters: Cynthia Pauline Schwarzkopf (b. August 23, 1970)
Jessica Alice Schwarzkopf (b. March 12, 1972)
Siblings: Ruth Ann Schwarzkopf (b. 1930)
Sally Schwarzkopf (b. February 4, 1932) (sisters)
Father: Herbert Norman Schwarzkopf, Sr. (b. August 28, 1895,
Newark, New Jersey - d. November 25, 1958, of pneumonia
and lung cancer) (a law enforcement official)
Mother: Ruth Bowman Schwarzkopf (b. 1900, Bluefield, West Virginia -
d. October 1976, Walter Reed Medical Center, Washington, D.C.,
of a heart attack***) (a nurse)
Error corrections or clarifications
* It has long been reported that Schwarzkopf was born
"H. Norman Schwarzkopf" because his father detested his first
name. While it certainly is true that his father disliked his
given name Herbert, he still named his son Herbert Norman
Schwarzkopf, Jr., as his birth certificate originally revealed.
In January of 1952, his birth certificate was officially
changed to show his name "H. Norman Schwarzkopf" excising both
Herbert and Jr. from his name.
Also note that a number of sources offer misspellings for
General Schwarzkopf's last name. "Schwartzkopf" and "Shwarzkopf"
are a couple of the more common errors.
** Some sources erroneously report "Lawrenceville, New Jersey"
as Schwarzkopf's place of birth. His family didn't move
to their home at 2549 Main Street in Lawrenceville, until
after Norman's 1934 birth.
*** General H. Norman Schwarzkopf's mother did not die in
1975, nor 1977, as some sources assert.
Biography - Hobbies
H. Norman Schwarzkopf graduated June 5th, 1956,
from the United States Military Academy, West Point,
New York. He went on to obtain his Master's degree
in mechanical engineering at the University of
Southern California (USC) in 1964. His studies
focused on guided missile engineering, and also
seeing the future potential of computers, he
did coursework in computers. He later attended the
United States Army War College in the early 1970s.
While primarily known to many as the Commander
of the coalition that liberated Kuwait from Iraqi
occupation, General Schwarzkopf's military career
actually stretched back more than three decades.
He was a highly-decorated officer who served two
tours of duty in Vietnam (1965-66, 1969-70), and
was deputy task force commander of the 1983 U.S.
invasion of Grenada following a Cuban-backed coup
on that Caribbean island nation. November 18th,
1988 he became a four-star general and was appointed
commander of the U.S. Central Command, which included
military operations in the Middle East. His father,
who had also risen to the rank of general, had spent
a good deal of time in the Middle East. As a result,
Schwarzkopf recognized the growing strategic
importance of the region, and had specifically
requested the position.
Not a commander to sit safely ensconced in the
rear while his troops faced danger; Schwarzkopf
earned a reputation as an officer who would risk
his life for the soldiers under his command. This
was just one of the many qualities that inspired
such an incredible level of morale among his troops.
In 1990, Iraq, then led by Saddam Hussein,
invaded its neighbor to the south, Kuwait.
President George Bush marshaled a 30 nation coalition
to oppose Iraq's invasion. General Schwarzkopf was
in charge of the effort, which included the buildup
of more than half a million troops from the
aforementioned 30 nations, and was termed Operation
Desert Shield. Following the passing of a United
Nations (UN) deadline demanding Iraq's withdraw from
Kuwait by January 15th, 1991, the operation became
known as Desert Storm. After a devastating series
of air attacks against Iraq, the ground war began.
Iraq's defeat was swift, with thousands of Saddam Hussein's
troops surrendering without a fight. Iraq's troops
were driven out of Kuwait, with the ground portion
of the war lasting just 100 hours. Coalition forces
suffered fewer than 200 deaths, with Iraq's casualties
numbering in the tens of thousands.
Numerous prestigious awards were bestowed upon
him following the successful outcome of the war.
"On July 3, 1991, President Bush, assisted by
Mrs. Bush, awarded me the Presidential Medal of
Freedom." The honors came not only from the
United States, but grateful nations around the
world lined up to confer some of their highest
honors on General Schwarzkopf.
After his successful command of Desert Storm
operations, he returned home to jubilant public
celebrations and victory parades around the
country, then retired at the end of August 1991.
His autobiography, It Doesn't Take a Hero,
co-written with Peter Petre, was published in 1992.
There was much speculation of Schwarzkopf running
for political office, possibly even the presidency,
but he did not do so, saying, "I absolutely have no
desire to go into politics. I hate politics." Schwarzkopf
later served as a military analyst for NBC news.
In retirement, medical problems slowed him
up a bit as he successfully battled prostate
cancer, and later had knee replacement surgery.
While in his 70s, he once commented, "I've
got all the problems that old men have."
General Schwarzkopf divided his time between
his Florida home and a home in the mountains
of Colorado. Though much of his time was spent
in Florida working on his various charitable
projects, he often yearned to spend more time
with his family at their place at Ski Ranches,
near Telluride, Colorado.
During his retirement he also served as host
of the cable television news magazine, World
Business Review & Health Journal Television,
and as co-chairman of the board of the Telluride
Back in the 1990s, General Schwarzkopf joined
fellow sporting clay enthusiasts in establishing
the Children's Home Sporting Clays Classic (now
popularly known as the Schwarzkopf Classic). The
fundraiser benefits the Children's Home in Tampa,
Florida. The Children's Home was founded more
than a century ago and is dedicated to helping
children who are victims of abuse, neglect or
Another of his favorite charities was one that he
actually helped found in 1996. Camp Boggy Creek
in Eustis, Florida (north of Orlando), each year
offers thousands of seriously ill kids weeklong
summer camp sessions and family retreat weekends
for the whole family. This is all done at no cost
to their families. Camp Boggy Creek is a "Hole
in The Wall Camp" and was patterned after Paul
Newman's original Hole in The Wall Gang Camp
in northeastern Connecticut. Newman was also
one of the co-founders of Camp Boggy Creek.
Gen. Schwarzkopf's been tagged with several
nicknames over the years, including "Schwarzie,"
a nickname his father also carried through
West Point, "Black Smoke 6," "Colonel Nazi,"
and the more familiar "Stormin' Norman" and
He had a passion for magic, winemaking,
hunting, skeet shooting, fishing, camping,
hiking, skiing, rafting, was a proficient
handyman, a voracious reader, and has also
enjoyed blackjack. In his early years, he
sang in choir, wrestled, played football,
soccer, and tennis.
Quotes - In his own words
"It doesn't take a hero to order men into
battle. It takes a hero to be one of those
men who goes into battle."
On computers: "I left California that summer of
1964 having completed my degree plus an additional
semester of coursework in computers--they
fascinated me because they were the wave of
On his musical preferences:
"There was a place a few blocks from where
I lived where the regular piano player was
Bobby Troup, who was married to the singer
Julie London and gave great renditions of
the blues. My tastes in popular music ranged
from there all the way to Elvis Presley, but
I loved folk music best. I may have been the
only captain in the United States Army who
listened avidly to The Weavers, and Peter,
Paul and Mary. I owned every record Joan Baez
made and was a great Bob Dylan fan."
"The U.S. military in Vietnam had been
accused of regularly sugarcoating the
truth in an effort to please the President,
and on the basis of bad information the
President had made some disastrous decisions.
We were not going to repeat that mistake.
Every shred of information we gave the
President would be the most accurate we
had, even if it reflected unfavorably."
Bush and Desert Storm:
"I'm very thankful for the fact that the
President of the United States [George H. W. Bush]
has allowed the United States military and
the coalition military to fight this war
exactly as it should have been fought. The
President, in every case, has taken our guidance
and our recommendations to heart, and has acted
superbly as the Commander in Chief of the
Persian Gulf War victory:
"Then I sat back to watch the victory
unfold. In the press reports flowing in,
the President was now a hero, Cheney was
a hero, and Powell was a hero, while the
politicians and military experts who had
warned that dire things would happen if
we went to war were eating their words.
Everybody at headquarters felt very proud.
I was happy as hell."
"I feel that retired general officers should
never miss an opportunity to remain silent
concerning matters for which they are no
"I've got all the problems that old men have."
America, and the future:
"Because we have emerged as the only remaining
superpower, we have an awesome responsibility
both to ourselves as a nation and to the rest
of the world. I don't know what that
responsibility will mean to the future of
our great country, but I shall always remain
confident of the American people's ability
to rise to any challenge."
The most in-depth of more than four dozen
sources consulted in preparing this
In the Eye of the Storm: The Life of General H. Norman Schwarzkopf,
by Roger Cohen and Claudio Gatti (1991)
Stormin' Norman: An American Hero by Jack Anderson
and Dale Van Atta (1991)
It Doesn't Take a Hero, by General H. Norman
Schwarzkopf, written with Peter Petre (1992)
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This page was last updated January 1, 2012. |