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Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr. (President McCain)

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H. Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr.
Norman Schwarzkopf
20th National Security Advisor
In office:
January 20, 2001 – January 20, 2009
President: John McCain
Deputy: Condoleezza Rice
Preceded by: Sandy Berger
Succeded by: James L. Jones
Born: August 22, 1934 (age 74)
Trenton, New Jersey, U.S.A.
Nationality: American
Political party: Republican
Spouse: Brenda Holsinger
Alma mater: Valley Forge Military Academy
United States Military Academy
University of Southern California
Occupation: Soldier, Statesman
Military service
Allegiance: Stormin' Norman, The Bear
Allegiance: United States of America
Service/branch: United States Army
Years of service: 1956 – 1991
Rank: US-O10 insignia General
Commands: 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry, 198th Infantry Brigade
1st Brigade, 9th Infantry Division
24th Mechanized Infantry Division
I Corps
U.S. Central Command
Battles/wars: Vietnam War
Operation Urgent Fury
Operation Desert Storm
Awards: Defense Distinguished Service Medal
Army Distinguished Service Medal
Silver Star (3)
Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Distinguished Flying Cross
Bronze Star (3) with Combat V
Purple Heart (2)

General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr. (also known as "Stormin' Norman" and "The Bear") (b. August 22, 1934) is a retired four-star general in the United States Army. He was the 20th National Security Advisor of the United States (2001-2009), serving under President John McCain.

During his military career, Schwarzkopf served as the Commander of U.S. Central Command, and was the commander of the Coalition Forces in the Gulf War of 1991.

Early life and education

Schwarzkopf was born Herbert Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr. in Trenton, New Jersey to Norman and Ruth Schwarzkopf. His father, Herbert Norman Schwarzkopf, served in the US Army before becoming the Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, but returned to an Army career and rose to rank of Major General. In January 1952, Schwarzkopf's birth certificate was amended to make his name "H. Norman Schwarzkopf". His connection with the Persian Gulf region began very early on. In 1946, when he was 12, he and the rest of his family joined their father, stationed in Tehran, Iran, where his father would go on to be instrumental in Operation Ajax. He attended the Community High School in Tehran, later the International School of Geneva, and attended and graduated from Valley Forge Military Academy. He is also a member of Mensa, with a tested I.Q. of 168.

Formal education

After attending Valley Forge Military Academy, Schwarzkopf, an army brat, attended the United States Military Academy, where he graduated 43rd in his class in 1956 with a Bachelor of Science Degree. He also attended the University of Southern California, where he received a Master's degree in mechanical engineering in 1964. His special field of study was guided missile engineering, a program that USC developed with the Army, which incorporated equally both aeronautical and mechanical engineering.

Military career

Upon graduating from West Point he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant. He received advanced infantry and airborne training at Fort Benning, Georgia after graduating from West Point. He was a platoon leader and served as executive officer of the 2nd Airborne Battle Group, 187th Airborne Infantry Regiment at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Next he was aide-de-camp to the Berlin Brigade in 1960 and 1961, a crucial time in the history of that divided city (the Berlin Wall was erected by East German and Soviet forces only a week after he left). In 1965, after completing his masters degree at USC, Schwarzkopf served at West Point as an instructor in the mechanical engineering department.

Service in Vietnam

More and more of his former classmates were heading to Vietnam as advisors to the South Vietnamese army and, in 1965, following Schwarzkopf's first year as a member of the faculty at West Point, he applied to join them. Schwarzkopf served as a task force advisor to a South Vietnamese Airborne Division, during that time, he was promoted from Captain to Major. When his tour of duty in Vietnam was over, he returned to serve out the remaining two years of his obligated teaching service at West Point.In 1968, Major Schwarzkopf became a Lieutenant Colonel. In this same year, he married Brenda Holsinger.

One of the most remarkable incidents in a very distinguished career happened on his second tour in Vietnam in March 1970. When Schwarzkopf received word that men under his command had encountered a minefield on the notorious Batangan Peninsula, he rushed to the scene in his helicopter, as was his custom while a battalion commander, in order to make his helicopter available. 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 (he was a wrestler at West Point, so he used a "pinning" technique in the process), 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 an arm and a leg off Schwarzkopf's artillery liaison officer.Eventually, Schwarzkopf led his surviving men to safety, by ordering the division engineers to mark the locations of the mines with shaving cream. (Some of the mines were of French manufacture and dated back to the Indochina conflict of the 1950s; others were brought by Japanese forces in World War II). Schwarzkopf was awarded his third Silver Star for his bravery but, more importantly to Schwarzkopf, he firmly cemented his reputation as an officer who would risk his life for the soldiers under his command.

Schwarzkopf was always known as a tough but caring officer. He told his men that they might not like some of his strict rules, but it was for their own good. He told them "When you get on that plane to go home, if the last thing you think about me is 'I hate that son of a bitch', then that is fine because you're going home alive." Lt. General Hal Moore later wrote that it was during his time in Vietnam that Schwarzkopf acquired what would later become his infamous temper, while arguing via radio for passing American Hueys to land and pick up his wounded men.

Rise to General

During the 70s, Schwarzkopf's star continued to rise. He attended the U.S. Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania (delayed for a year so that he could undergo back surgery for a congenital back condition that was aggravated by his combat services), served on the Army General Staff at The Pentagon, was deputy commander of U.S. Forces Alaska under Brigadier General Willard Latham, and served as a brigade commander at Fort Lewis, Washington.After promotion to Brigadier General, he was assigned as Plans & Policy Officer (Assistant J3) at U.S. Pacific Command for two years. He then served as Assistant Division Commander (Support) of the 8th Mechanized Division and as Community Commander of Mainz, West Germany, during which the city was visited by Pope John Paul II, thus putting Schwarzkopf in charge of the U.S. security forces during the pontiff's visit. He was promoted to Major General, and given command of the 24th Mechanized Infantry Division, at Fort Stewart, Georgia. A year into this assignment, a coup had taken place on the tiny Caribbean island of Grenada. With Cuban assistance, the Grenadian revolutionaries were building an airfield which U.S. intelligence suspected would be used to supply insurgents in Central America. It was also feared that Americans studying on the island might be taken hostage. Since an amphibious landing was called for, the entire operation was placed under the command of an admiral. Schwarzkopf was sent by the Army as an advisor to the Navy to make sure the Army units attached to the task force were used correctly. He quickly won the confidence of his superior and was named Deputy Commander of the Joint Task Force. While the Grenada operation proved more difficult than its planners had anticipated, the coup was quickly thwarted. Order was restored, elections were scheduled, and the American students returned home unharmed.In 1985, Schwarzkopf returned to the Pentagon to serve as an assistant to Lieutenant General Carl Vuono (who was then Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations). In 1986, Schwarzkopf was promoted to Lieutenant General, and was appointed as Commanding General of I Corps at Ft. Lewis. After only serving one year in command, he was called back to Washington to serve as Vuono's assistant (Vuono himself was promoted to General of the Army's Training and Doctrine Command, only later to become Army Chief of Staff), this time in operations Deputy Chief position.

The Gulf War

In 1988, he was promoted to General and was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Central Command. The U.S. Central Command, based at MacDill Air Force Base, near Tampa, Florida, was responsible at the time for operations in the Horn of Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. In his capacity as commander, Schwarzkopf prepared a detailed plan for the defense of the oil fields of the Persian Gulf against a hypothetical invasion by Iraq, among other plans.

The Iraq plan served as the basis of the USCENTCOM wargame of 1990. Within the same month, Iraq invaded Kuwait, and Schwarzkopf's plan had an immediate practical application, which was as the basis for Operation Desert Shield, the defense of Saudi Arabia.As overall commander, Schwarzkopf initially was concerned that operational forces in the theater were adequately supplied and equipped for large-scale combat in a desert environment. During preparations for Desert Storm, as the result of initiatives by General Schwarzkopf, the Desert camouflage combat uniform was produced in 100% cotton poplin without reinforcement panels in order to improve comfort for U.S. troops operating in the hot, dry desert conditions. A total of 500,000 improved cotton BDUs were ordered. However, cost concerns caused the cotton six-color Desert BDU to be discontinued shortly after the Gulf war. A few months later, General Schwarzkopf's offensive operational plan, called Operation Desert Storm (co-authored with his deputy commander, Lieutenant General Cal Waller and others on his staff), was the "left hook" strategy that went into Iraq behind the Iraqi forces occupying Kuwait and was widely credited with bringing the ground war to a close in just four days. He was personally very visible in the conduct of the war, giving frequent press conferences, and was dubbed "Stormin' Norman." After the war, Schwarzkopf was bestowed an honorary corporal in the French Foreign Legion, the only American to be so honored.

First retirement

Schwarzkopf retired from active service in August 1991, and shortly thereafter wrote an autobiography, It Doesn't Take a Hero, published in 1992. There was some speculation in the aftermath of the Gulf War that he might run for political office, but he did not do so. In retirement, Schwarzkopf has served as a military analyst for NBC, along with promoting prostate cancer awareness, a disease with which he was diagnosed in 1993, and for which he was successfully treated. Schwarzkopf also donated most of his time to multiple charities, and community activities.

Political Endorsements

Schwarzkopf supported Republican nominee John McCain's election bid against Democrat nominee Al Gore, stating that "Senator McCain has served our country with honor in war and in peace, and has demonstrated the type of courageous leadership our country sorely needs. For that reason, he has my complete support".

National Security Advisor (2001–2009)

On December 17, 2000, Schwarzkopf was picked to serve as National Security Advisor and returned from retirement.

During the summer of 2001, Schwarzkopf met with CIA Director George Tenet on an almost daily basis to discuss the possibilities and prevention of terrorist attacks on American targets. Notably, on July 10, 2001, Schwarzkopf met with Tenet in what he referred to as an "emergency meeting" held at the White House at Tenet's request to brief Rice and the NSC staff about the potential threat of an al Qaeda attack. Rice responded by asking Tenet to give a presentation on the matter to Secretary Hagel and Attorney General John Ashcroft.

U.S. decorations and badges

See also

Legal offices
Logo of the United States White House Preceded by:
Sandy Berger

United States National Security Advisor
Serving under: John McCain

2001 – 2009

Succeeded by:
James L. Jones
Military offices
U.S. CENTCOM Logo Preceded by:
George B. Crist

Commander of United States Central Command
November 23, 1988 - August 9, 1991

Succeeded by:
Joseph P. Hoar

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