The most celebrated four-star Army general who led coalition troops to a speedy victory in the first Gulf War in 1991 died today in Tampa at age 78. General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, who retired soon after the gulf war, became the United States’ highly acclaimed military hero of his time in the aftermath of the decisive victory over’s forces.
According to reports, general Schwarzkopf was suffering from complications of pneumonia and died as a result. In 1993, he underwent a successful surgery for prostate cancer. Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta confirmed the general’s death in a statement.
"The men and women of the Department of Defense join me in mourning the loss of General Norman Schwarzkopf, whose 35 years of service in uniform left an indelible imprint on the United States military and on the country," Panetta said in a statement, according to ABC News. "My thoughts and prayers are with the Schwarzkopf family in this time of sadness and grief."
General Schwarzkopf led one of the world’s most lopsided military triumphs in contemporary combats in the form of Operation Desert Storm, a six-week long hi-tech bombardment by a wide assortment of coalition troops with awe-inspiring air power that unshackled Kuwait from the control of Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi forces. The troops under Schwarzkopf’s leadership deflected Iraqi Republican Guards and tore down almost all Iraqi infrastructures.
Gen. Schwarzkopf led around 540,000 US troops and coalition troops of around 200,000 from 28 countries. Moreover, hundreds of ships and thousands armored vehicles, aircrafts, and tanks were under his command during the operation.
Operation Desert Storm was conducted under President George H.W. Bush’s administration. Bush also mourned the loss through a statement, saying Gen. Schwarzkopf’s death is the loss of a true American patriot and one of the great military leaders of his generation.
Presidentalso paid tribute to the general, saying he was “an American original” who stood firm for the US and the Army he was dedicated to.
Winning the first gulf war was undoubtedly not equal to the ordeals of the World War II and the Korean clash, which turned Eisenhower and MacArthur into public stars. But a discordant Vietnam War and the cold war had created no such icons, and the little-known General Schwarzkopf was adorned in glory as the champion in a popular war against an atrocious ruler.