Friday, December 28, 2012

General Schwartzkopf, RIP

General "Stormin' Norman" Schwartzkopf died yesterday. He was the General overseeing coalition troops in Operation Desert Storm in 1990-91. He commanded US warriors along with French, British, Egyptian and Saudi troops to turn back Saddam Hussein's 500,000 man army and elite Republican Guard which had invaded Kuwait.
Saddam's troops set Kuwait's oil wells on fire, sabotaged a desalination plant and committed atrocities against the Kuwaiti people, among a list of horribles.

General Schwartzkopf at "The Briefing" See it below.
What endeared Schwartzkopf to the American people, however, was his frequent briefings on the progress of the war to the American people and to the press. He was the first to embed reporters within combat units in the Armed Forces in a hot war in order to avoid the "Vietnamization" of (inaccurate) reportage that undermined the Vietnam War effort.

The following videos show Schwartzkopf's ultimate briefing on the success of the Coalition Campaign against Saddam. We'll be highlighting the real nuggets of this briefing on the program today. Some of Schwartzkopf's decision came back to haunt the US--such as the decision to leave Saddam with some of his air force assets in tact and the decision NOT to overrun Baghdad and depose Saddam Hussein.

Scwartzkopf's bio is impressive. Read it here. He was fluent in three languages, studied abroad as a child, received a Masters degree later in life (in mechanical engineering) and graduated from West Point.

Note this part of the bio. He received THREE Silver Stars in Vietnam. I want you to note how he got the first one and where it was. When you get to the part of the briefing (below) where a reporter asks him about how easy Operation Desert Storm was, note the question Schwartzkopf asks him, "Have you ever been in a mine field?"

Here's why:
When Colonel Schwarzkopf received word that men under his command had encountered a minefield, he rushed to the scene in his helicopter. He found several soldiers still trapped in the minefield. Schwarzkopf urged them to retrace their steps slowly. Still, one man tripped a mine and was severely injured but remained conscious. As the wounded man flailed in agony, the soldiers around him feared that he would set off another mine. Schwarzkopf, also injured by the explosion, crawled across the minefield to the wounded man and held him down so another could splint his shattered leg. One soldier stepped away to break a branch from a nearby tree to make the splint. In doing so, he too hit a mine, killing himself and the two men closest to him, and blowing the leg off of Schwarzkopf's liaison officer. Eventually, Colonel Schwarzkopf led his surviving men to safety. He was awarded the Silver Star for his bravery but, more importantly to Norman Schwarzkopf, he cemented his reputation as an officer who would risk anything for the soldiers under his command.
Norman Schwarzkopf Biography Photo
Before the tour was up, Colonel Schwarzkopf would earn three Silver Stars and be wounded again

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this, Victoria. There is much to learn from "Stormin' Normen Schwarzkopf's life, values, and the words with which he expressed those values, especially, for me: "There are some things worth living for. There are some things worth dying for. One of those things is freedom."