Norman Schwarzkopf was one of the most decorated and successful military leaders in modern American history. His efforts in Vietnam and Iraq saw him become one of the most-respected military tacticians and leaders of his time. Let’s take a look at 10 interesting facts about Norman Schwarzkopf.
Norman Schwarzkopf Facts
1. Norman Schwarzkopf was born in 1934
Norman Schwarzkopf was born Herbert Norman Schwarzkopf Jr. on the 22 August 1934 in Trenton, New Jersey. Schwarzkopf seemed destined for a career in the army right from birth. An interesting fact about Norman Schwarzkopf is that his father was a brigadier general and had fought in the First World War. He had also served as a high ranking member of the New Jersey police force. This early introduction to the ideas of discipline and authority is said to have had a huge influence on Schwarzkopf.
2. He was known as ‘Stormin Norman’
During his time as a military commander, Norman Schwarzkopf developed a reputation for being a no-nonsense leader who could be strict with his soldiers if the situation required it.
This earned him the nickname ‘Stormin Norman’ which would go on to become a popular way to refer to him. It is said, however, that Norman Schwarzkopf was not too fond of this nickname and that he saw his tactics as being a form of tough love and beneficial to his soldiers.
Norman Schwarzkopf was said to have been a very soft and caring individual and would prefer to be known as ‘the Bear’.
3. Schwarzkopf graduated from West Point Military College
Norman Schwarzkopf had quite a nomadic childhood thanks to his father’s position within the military. He would spend several years living in Iran, Italy and Switzerland before finally moving back to the United States in 1950 at the age of 16.
Norman Schwarzkopf would then go on to attend Valley Forge Military Academy in Wayne, Pennsylvania, where he earned himself a tough reputation for his sharp tongue and debating skills. Following this, he would attend West Point Military College in West Point, New York. He performed well at the college and graduating in 1956. He finished as number 43 out of a class of 480 students, an interesting Norman Schwarzkopf fact.
4. He was a four-star General
Norman Schwarzkopf’s rise through the ranks in the military was incredibly impressive. He was first sent to Vietnam as an adviser to the South Vietnamese airborne division in 1965, he would return home as a major two years later.
Following a brief stint teaching at West Point University, he would then return to Vietnam where he would receive three silver stars during a one year tour of Vietnam thanks to his bravery. He was also wounded twice during this tour.
He was made a colonel in 1975 and has risen through the ranks to become lieutenant general by 1986. He would then become a four-star general in 1988. He was then appointed commander of the United States Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.
5. Norman Schwarzkopf was in charge of Operation Desert Storm
Norman Schwarzkopf became a household name in the United States after his efforts during the first Gulf War in the early 1990s.
The American forces attempt to oust Saddam Hussein in Kuwait, known as Operation Desert Storm, was led by Norman Schwarzkopf. It was a largely successful mission and Norman Schwarzkopf has been praised for his tactics and his leadership during this time. It would be his last tour in the military.
6. Schwarzkopf was close friends with the Bush family
In his later life, Norman Schwarzkopf was also known for his close relationship and his endorsement of United States President, George H W Bush.
He also served in the military in the early 1990s and was pivotal to the success of the first Gulf War, a fun Norman Schwarzkopf fact. This was during the presidency of George W Bush, who was the father of George H W Bush.
Upon the death of Norman Schwarzkopf’, George H W Bush would be one of the first to publicly speak about his legacy. He said ‘Gen. Norm Schwarzkopf, to me, epitomized the ‘duty, service, country’ creed that has defended our freedom and seen this great nation through our most trying international crises. More than that, he was a good and decent man — and a dear friend.’
7. He retired from the military in 1991
After a successful military career, Norman Schwarzkopf officially retired from the army in 1991, following his successful leadership of Operation Desert Storm. Norman Schwarzkopf would then spend the rest of his life living in Tampa, Florida, where he had also seen out the last days of his military career.
8. He published his autobiography in 1992
One year after retiring from the military, Norman Schwarzkopf released his autobiography, It Doesn’t Take a Hero, in 1992. The book became an instant best-seller.
The book was heavily praised as being an eye-opening account of the recently finished Gulf War. It would go on to sell millions of copies and is seen as one of the most important war-time books of the 1990s and the late 20th century.
9. Schwarzkopf received many awards for his services
A fun fact about Norman Schwarzkopf is that he had many honours bestowed upon him during his lifetime. As well as receiving the four-stars during his military service, he would also receive several other awards both during and after his military career.
One of his most notable awards, especially for an American general, was that of a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II of England, which was seen as major recognition. He would also receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from his good friend George H W Bush in 199
10. Norman Schwarzkopf died in 2012
Norman Schwarzkopf died on December 27th 2012 after contracting pneumonia. He was 78 years old at the time of his death. His death was mourned nationwide in the United States and tributes poured out, with a notable one coming from former US President George W Bush.
Norman Schwarzkopf was cremated and his ashes were buried in West Point Cemetery in the same area that those of his father was buried.
Norman Schwarzkopf is one of the most influential leaders in US military history. He has become the kind of leader that the modern-day US troops attempt to embody and in many ways, this is his finest legacy.
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