General Herbert Norman Schwarzkopf: A Great 20th Century Military Leader Herbert Norman Schwarzkopf Jr. was born August 22, 1934 in Trenton, New Jersey to Ruth Alice and Herman Norman Schwarzkopf. Herbert Norman was the youngest of three siblings. He had two sisters. They were Ruth Ann who were four years older and Sally who were two and a half years older than him. Perhaps because of the closeness in their ages, Sally and Herman enjoyed playing together outdoors while Ruth Ann prefered to be in doors reading or playing the piano (“It Doesn’t Take A Hero” Petre, Peter. ).
Herbert Norman’s dad Herman Norman, served in WWI as an officer. He fought in the battle of Marne and was gassed with mustard gas, making him vulnerable to the chance of pneumonia for the rest of his life. After his return from the war, he founded the New Jersey State Police. Herman didn’t specialize in leading soldiers, but leading and training military police officers. Herman worked as lead investigator on the infamous kidnapping of Charles Lindenbergh’s son in 1932 (“It Doesn’t Take A Hero” Petre, Peter. ). In June of 1942, Herbert was called to Washington D. C. to meet with General George C Marshall to discuss a problem.
The allies were having troubles delivering military aid to the Soviets who were in need of supplies and weaponry through the Iran mountains because the mountain tribes were ambushing the convoys or setting up blockades and asking for tariffs. This was during the part of the war when the Nazis were closing in one Stalingrad and the supplies getting to the Soviets were crucial to the war. To deal with this issue, Herman Schwarzkopf was assigned to advise the Imperial Iranian Gendarmerie to train them to make them effective at defending and become the national police force to stop the ambushes in the mountain sides of Iran.
Eventually he formed the Shah’s secret police force the SAVAK. For all of this to happen it required Herman Schwarzkopf to live in Iran while the rest of the family stayed back (“It Doesn’t Take A Hero” Petre, Peter. ). In August of 1942, Herman Schwarzkopf left for Tehran, Iran on Operation Ajax. Norman was 7 at the time.. Before Herman left,he made Norman the “man of the house” while Herman was deployed. To symbolize this, Herman placed his Army saber which he received in 1917 when he graduated West Point Military Academy in New York into Norman’s hands. As he did Herman said “I’m placing this sword in your keeping until I come back.
Now son, I’m depending on you and the responsibility is yours. ” Herman then read the army creed engraved in the sword to Herbert, “Duty, Honor, Country. ” Herman said that Herbert had to do the “duty” to be the man of the house, that Norman had to “honor” his dad’s wish, all while he served his “country”(“It Doesn’t Take A Hero” Petre, Peter. ). With Herman Schwarzkopf being gone, things at home inside the family became tough. The load of maintaining their big house became too much so they moved to a small apartment which was cheaper and easier to maintain.
Herbert Schwarzkopf’s mom took it hard having her husband and his dad gone. She turned to alcohol. Herbert would come home from school to find her sitting on the front steps of their apartment building drinking, crying, and talking with slurred speech (“It Doesn’t Take A Hero” Petre, Peter. ). Herman Norman was in the military lifestyle his whole life. In 1943, he moved to Iran with his dad and attended the Iranian International Academy. Later, he attended a academy in Geneva, Switzerland. He then returned back to the United States in 1949 and attended Valley Forge Military Academy.
In 1952, Herbert was accepted and attended West Point Military Academy. While there, Norman wrestled, played football, and was a member of the chapel choir. All of this military life style through out Norman’s life gave him the leadership skills and fundamentals to grow up and become a great leader himself. In 1969, Norman became a teacher at West Point. After one year he volunteered to go to Vietnam and served by being a task force advisor to the South Vietnamese Airborne Division. In March of 1970, Schwarzkopf was involved in the rescue of his troops in a minefield.
He learned that his troops were trapped in the minefield and flew to the scene with his own personal battalion commander helicopter. He loaded his helicopter with as many wounded as possible and watched the helicopter fly off with him still in the battlefield. Norman then tried to help guide his men out of the minefield by having them retrace their steps. Tragically one man tripped a mine and lost his leg. The man screamed and flailed in agony. Schwarzkopf, injured himself from shrapnel, was afraid the soldier would set off more mines and crawled to the man.
Norman proceeded to lay on the man to pin him so the other soldiers could place a splint on his leg. A soldier left to get a branch off of a tree and set off another mine killing him and two others instantly and blew the arm and leg off of Schwarzkopf’s liaison officer. The remaining soldiers finally escaped the minefield by marking the mines with shaving cream after the engineers found them (“It Doesn’t Take A Hero” Petre, Peter. ). This is an example about how Norman Schwarzkopf led by example. He never ordered anyone to do something he wouldn’t do himself.
Norman developed a fiery temper that he used to give orders while in Vietnam. When Norman returned from Vietnam he was promoted to General when he returned (“Norman Schwarzkopf” Bio. TrueStory). In 1983, Norman was challenged again by being the lead commander for the invasion of Grenada. He once again showed his leadership capabilities in the dominant victory at Grenada with minimal US casualties. So in 1990, when Iraq invaded Kuwait, there was nobody more capable to lead the United States liberation of Kuwait in 1991 than Norman Schwarzkopf (“Norman Schwarzkopf“ Bio.
TrueStory). Iraq refused to obey to meet the UN deadline to withdraw its troops from Kuwait. At 3 am on January 17, 1991, the United States launched an air campaign to disable Iraq’s air force, which was one of the largest air-forces in the world at the time. Schwarzkopf used US military aircraft and patriot missiles in a 5 week bombing campaign to cripple vital Iraqi sources such as their air force, their radar stations, and their communication services (“Operation Desert Storm” Tristam, Pierre).
On February 4, 1991 at 0400 hours United States forces under Norman’s command along with coalition forces moved in a massive wave across Kuwait capturing, destroying, and pushing Iraqi forces and equipment and pushing them back into Iraq in a mere 38 days with minimal casualties on the coalition side. Norman was the commander and chief of the war with his great leadership abilities and his morals; that you should only use the resources needed and do only the damage needed to win the war. The war ended February 28, 1991 when a ceasefire was declared (“Operation Desert Storm” Tristam, Pierre).
Desert Storm and the liberation of Kuwait would be Norman Schwarzkopf’s peak in his career and also the end of it. He retired from the military in 1992 and wrote his biography “It Doesn’t Take A Hero. ” Schwarzkopf was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1995. In his retirement he enjoyed being outdoors (“General H Norman Schwarzkopf” Academy of Achievement). Norman Schwarzkopf was born into a military family with a great leader as a father, and he himself gained those leadership capabilities and skills. He used them to his fullest in leading American forces in 3 different conflicts.
He is viewed as a hero in the American eye and one of the greatest generals of the 20th century. Schwarzkopf passed away December 27, 2012 at the age of 72 due from complications of pneumonia in Tampa, Florida. Norman was laid to rest February 28, 2012 at West Point Military Academy. It is a fitting resting place for him since he has a lot of history there; from attending as a college student himself, to becoming a faculty member and teaching the future of America’s military himself. WORKS CITED “Norman Schwarzkopf. biography. ” bio. True Story. A E Television Networks, LLC, 01 Jan 2013. Web.
3 Feb 2013. Petre, Peter. It Doesn’t Take A Hero. New York, New York: Linda Grey/Bantam Books, 1992. Print. . “General H Norman Schwarzkopf. ” Academy of Achievement. American Academy of Achievement, 28 Dec 2012. Web. 3 Feb 2013. Tristam, Pierre. “Operation Desert Storm. ” n. d. n. page. Print. . Pandey, Kundan. “Desert Storm Facts. ” Buzzle. Buzzle. com, 27 Sep 2011. Web. 12 Mar 2013. . “Norman Schwarzkopf Biography. ” Your Dictionary Biography. Encyclopedia of World Biography, n. d. Web. 12 Mar 2013. . “Air Force Fact Sheet. ” About. com US Military. About. com, n. d. Web. 12 Mar 2013. .