The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

December 28, 2012

Gen. Schwarzkopf led coalition troops in 1991 Gulf War against Saddam Hussein

Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Americans are mourning the loss of one of our country’s heroes, retired Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, who died Thursday.

Schwarzkopf was the leader of the effort to oust Saddam Hussein’s forces from Kuwait in 1991 in the first Gulf War. He commanded the U.S.-led international coalition that formed when Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990.

He oversaw the buildup of forces until they became strong enough to push Iraqi forces out of Kuwait.

Some of his most valuable efforts in the Gulf War weren’t even solely military.

He played a major diplomatic role in helping convince Saudi Arabian leaders to let foreign troops base on their soil, which was critical to the success of the coalition effort.

The Gulf War was the culmination of Schwarzkopf’s Army career, but it certainly wasn’t the only time he excelled.

He served two tours of duty in Vietnam, earning three Silver Stars for valor, including one for saving some of his troops from a minefield. He also earned a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart and three Distinguished Service Medals.

Even more importantly, he stayed in the Army during the turbulent times after Vietnam, and helped rebuild the military into a modernized, all-volunteer force.

In later life, after he retired from the Army in 1992, Schwarzkopf kept a low profile, supporting national causes and children’s charities.

He didn’t push for the spotlight and fought efforts to encourage him to run for political office.

As with many who are referred to as heroes, Schwarzkopf didn’t see himself in that way. He was just a soldier doing his duty.

And, he did his duty well.