Yahoo News asked U.S. military veterans for their appreciations of Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, who died Thursday at 78. Here are some excerpts from what they wrote on Friday.
Superb leadership, unflagging patriotism: In the Air Force for 35 years, I've had a front-row seat to various styles of military leadership, with my insight honed as time went on and as I rose through the ranks. To quote a former commander of mine, "I know what good looks like."
Gen. Schwarzkopf was not only good, he was great.
One thing I do know is that the general wasn't a "perfumed prince." He didn't rise rapidly through the officer ranks by being a "yes" man, by keeping his thoughts to himself for fear of offending a superior and certainly not by subscribing to the ever-increasing political correctness in the military.
Yes, he was prone to thunderous outbursts at times, and even had his moments of emotional crisis during his calls with Gen. Colin Powell from his bunker. But that's what made him a military diamond in the rough. While other generals were polished, people discovered more facets of Schwarzkopf: his superb leadership with the troops and officers and his unflagging patriotism while in uniform and later in retirement.
-- Robert Douglas
Schwarzkopf's legacy lives on: Competent and confident, he commanded respect. He was a motivator of military and civilians alike. He personally motivated me.
Just weeks after the start of the [Desert Storm] campaign, I enlisted in the U.S. Army. Though I did not deploy to combat, I was proud to serve. Competent, high-profile leaders like Schwarzkopf contribute to pride and high morale among the military ranks. This was the professional impact the general had on me.
Although many aren't proponents of military conflict, all are proponents of protection of our freedoms, our nation and its interests. Thus, all must appreciate military leaders of Gen. Schwarzkopf's caliber. His competence, confidence and dedication to duty contributed greatly to the protection of our nation, its interests and the freedoms we enjoy today. The general himself has died, but his legacy lives on to succeed him.
-- Kimberlyn Grant
Instant respect for Schwarzkopf: In November 1990, I was deployed to Saudi Arabia as part of an advance team from our [Army] 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 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.
-- Gene Bannister
Schwarzkopf a 'soldier's general': 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 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.
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.
-- Brian Watson
Stormin' Norman Schwarzkopf was my hero: My former company, 593rd S & S Company, was under Schwarzkopf's command during Desert Storm.
He outsmarted, outfought, and made Saddam's renowned storm troopers look like rank amateurs in the art of war. Stormin' Norman was my hero for many reasons: He saved the lives of my friends and family. He was smarter than your average four-star general. When everyone demanded that he follow Iraqi troops into Baghdad, he ignored them. That decision saved countless American and European troops' lives.
No other general in American history has commanded so much respect, perhaps besides George Washington and Douglas MacArthur. Schwarzkopf was truly a man's man. He certainly deserves his place in American history. Today we mourn the loss of a great man. Tomorrow I know that his former students of war will lead America to victory once again. I can only hope the lessons he taught to soldiers around the world will keep the world safe.
-- Vincent Cannady
God speed, General; it was my honor: I had the pleasure of serving with Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf during Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm, when he was the commander of coalition forces in the Gulf War from August 1990 to February 1991. I was specialist in the 2nd Brigade, 3rd Armored Division, VII Corps, in the United States Army.
Gen. Schwarzkopf was a very inspiring figure. He was very confident and very outspoken. When Gen. Schwarzkopf spoke, you knew it was from his heart; he said what he meant and meant what he said. As a young soldier enduring my first time in combat, it was comforting to know I was following a great leader, a leader that was confident, knowledgeable, one I trusted and one everybody around me trusted.
During the Gulf War, Schwarzkopf made many tactical moves that went against conventional warfare and tactics. In doing this, he drew many critics, but when it was all said and done and the mere 100-hour ground campaign was over, he had rewritten many of the tactical handbooks on modern air and tank warfare.
I can't express enough how honored I was to serve under Gen. Schwarzkopf. Our country has lost a great general and an even better man today. God speed, General. It was my honor.
-- Chris Gayhart
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