Norman Schwarzkopf Was My General

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Yahoo News asked veterans for their thoughts and appreciations of Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, who died Thursday at 78.

COMMENTARY | I was a young man when the Persian Gulf War began--a young soldier serving in Germany as part of the 34th Signal Battalion, an asset of the VII Corps, part of the United States Army Europe (USAREUR) under the direct command of Lt. General Frederick M. Franks, Jr.

In November 1990, I was deployed to Saudi Arabia as part of an advance team from our battalion to help set up supply routes and on-the-ground logistical support for our unit, which would make the trip a couple weeks later.

During that time, and the entire Persian Gulf War, I would listen to and read about the briefings from Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, the man in charge of the United States Central Command, overseeing operations in the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia. Schwarzkopf, who passed away Thursday, was, to my young mind, a larger-than-life character.

I instantly felt respect for him, not just for his rank, but for his ability to lead. I had grown up with stories about generals Dwight Eisenhower, George S. Patton, and Douglas MacArthur. Gen. Schwarzkopf was in good company with these men.

I never had the opportunity to meet him personally, but I read the news stories in the European version of Stars and Stripes, the military newspaper, that we would get while in the Middle East. His confidence, his command of the news media during his briefings, and his plan for victory was what made our mission a success.

I read about the general's passing yesterday and was overcome by grief, not for the loss of a personal friend but for the nation's loss at the passing of one of our legends.

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