Norman Schwartzkopf died in Tampa, Florida, today at the age of 78, U.S. officials confirmed to the Associated Press. The four-star general was largely credited with leading U.S. allies to victory during the Gulf War in the 1990s.
Commanding under then-president George H.W. Bush, Schwartzkopf successfully prevented a Cuban-backed coup in Grenada and drove Iraqi forces out of Kuwait. Bush, himself suffering from serious health issues, released a statement mourning the general's death.
"Barbara and I mourn the loss of a true American patriot and one of the great military leaders of his generation," Bush said. "A distinguished member of that Long Gray Line hailing from West Point, 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. Barbara and I send our condolences to his wife, Brenda, and his wonderful family."
Calling Schwartzkopf "a great patriot and a great soldier," former secretary of state Colin Powell, who served as chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during Desert Storm, said in a prepared statement, "Norm served his country with courage and distinction for over 35 years. The highlight of his career was the 1991 Persian Gulf War, Operation Desert Storm. 'Stormin' Norman' led the coalition forces to victory, ejecting the Iraqi Army from Kuwait and restoring the rightful government. His leadership not only inspired his troops, but also inspired the nation.
"He was a good friend of mine, a close buddy," Powell added. "I will miss him."
Schwartzkopf was a West Point graduate who was awarded three Silver Stars during two tours in Vietnam and was known for his sharp temper and sharper sense of loyalty. He retired from the Army in 1991 and settled in Tampa with his wife Brenda, with whom he had three children.
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