One Veteran's Appreciation of General Norman Schwarzkopf

Yahoo Contributor Network

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

COMMENTARY | As the news of the passing of a truly great American general spread across the nation, many Americans are reflecting on what General Schwarzkopf meant to them.

I was a kid when Gen. Schwarzkopf commanded our forces, but I still this day remember what I thought of him. As a kid, I saw him as hero for what he was doing for the country of Kuwait. Watching him stand in front of the cameras and instructing what was going on in the operations in the Middle East during Operation Desert Storm led to my decision to eventually enlist in the Army. I had a toy Army helmet and ran around pointing at maps I drew up, planning how I was going to attack the bad guys.

I appreciate everything Gen. Schwarzkopf stood for and for what he was. I have spoken to many veterans who saw him as a straightforward leader and as an inspiration to the troops he led.

Later, when I was a private in the Army, one of my squad leaders told me that Schwarzkopf was a "soldier's general." My uncle served under the general, and he said that not only was he firm, he was compassionate about the country he served and his soldiers he led.

I, too, wanted to be seen as a leader who was firm but also cared about his soldiers. There should be many more officers and even noncommissioned officers who should strive to emulate the traits of Gen. Schwarzkopf. Being straightforward and blunt is sometimes the only way soldiers understand what's at stake. Gen. Schwarzkopf perfected that.

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