Retired Army General Norman Schwarzkopf, who commanded the U.S.-led international coalition that drove Iraqi forces out of Kuwait in 1991, has died. He was 78.
Schwarzkopf died Thursday of complications from pneumonia in Tampa, Florida, where he lived in retirement.
A much-decorated combat soldier in Vietnam, Schwarzkopf was known popularly as “Stormin' Norman'' because of his notoriously explosive temper. In 1991, he led Operation Desert Storm, which liberated Kuwait from Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's forces.
Schwarzkopf stayed in Tampa after he served in his last military assignment there as commander-in-chief of the U.S. Central Command — the headquarters responsible for U.S. military and security concerns in nearly 20 countries from the eastern Mediterranean and Africa to Pakistan.
Schwarzkopf retired from active service in late 1991. In the aftermath of the Gulf War, there was some speculation that he might run for political office, but he never did.
U.S. President Barack Obama said in a statement that Schwarzkopf was “an American original” and said the general's “legacy will endure in a nation that is more secure because of his patriotic service.”
Former U.S. president George H.W. Bush, under whom Schwarzkopf served in the Gulf War, called the general “a true American patriot and one of the great military leaders of his generation.” He also called Schwarzkopf “a good and decent man and a dear friend.”
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta called him “a brilliant strategist and inspiring leader” and “one of the great military giants of the 20th century.”
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, also a contemporary of Schwarzkopf, called him “a close buddy” and said his leadership not only inspired American troops, but also the nation.