H Norman Schwarzkopf Jr.

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H Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr. (1934-) [1] In his autobiography, he insists the "H" does not stand for anything, although people assume it is "Herbert." His father, a World War I veteran and chief of the New Jersey State Police at the time of the Lindbergh kidnapping, H Norman Schwarzkopf Sr. ran the U.S. mission to Iran in WWII. The younger Schwarzkopf had much of his secondary education in Europe, achieving native fluency in German and competence in several other languages.

He is best known for his service commanding United States Central Command during the 1991 Gulf War (i.e., Operation DESERT SHIELD, Operation DESERT STORM and Operation DESERT SABRE). Called "Bear" both for his physique and his explosive temper, he still successfully kept a complex multinational coalition working, and then directed the ousting of Iraqi forces from Kuwait and a limited pursuit of their forces back into Iraq. Colin Powell spent much of his time, as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, managing him; his friend and mentor, Chief of Staff of the Army Carl Vuono, also guided him.

A 1956 graduate of the United States Military Academy, he strongly identified with Infantry, although he later qualified in missile engineering and taught engineering at West Point. While teaching, he applied for a waiver of his commitment resulting from his graduate education, and spent a year as an adviser to the Army of the Republic of Viet Nam Airborne, including combat at the Battle of the Ia Drang. After his return to teaching, followed by attendance at the Command and General Staff College, he returned to Vietnam as a battalion commander. While hospitalized for a back injury in 1971, he gave controversial interviews to reporter C.D.B. Bryan, for the book Friendly Fire, discussing U.S. fratricide in Vietnam.

During that tour, he received the first of three Silver Star medals, the third-highest U.S. decoration for valor in combat, for going into a minefield to rescue soldiers trapped there. Subsequently, his commands included an infantry brigade in Alaska and an army corps, as well as being named the deputy commander for the U.S. intervention in Grenada. He was strongly critical of the U.S. performance in Grenada and became a firm believer in joint operations.

References

  1. Schwarzkopf, H Norman, Jr. (1992), It Doesn't Take a Hero, Bantam