By Sara Belsole
COLUMBUS, GA - Nicknamed "Stormin' Norman" for his famous temper, General Normal Schwarzkopf is a true American hero. He passed away in Tampa, Florida Thursday night from complications with pneumonia.
He used his pre-war briefings during Operation Desert Storm to scare Saddam Hussein into backing down: "If the Iraqis are dumb enough to attack, they are going to pay a terrible price for it."
"He was one of the few, the Patton of our modern generation, the MAcAruthur, the Eisenhower. And Schwarzkopf ranks right up there with those people," Retired General Jerry White says.
White served with Schwarzkopf in Alaska in the 1970's. He says instead of "Stormin' Norman," Schwarzkopf preferred to be called "The Bear."
"He had this way about him that was just so tough, tough skin that he had no heart at all, but his heart was as big as gold," White says.
Schwarzkopf graduated from West Point in 1956.
"He is probably the most competitive man I have ever known in my entire life. If it was tiddly-winks or war, it didn't matter, he wanted to win," White says.
And he did just that. Commanding 540,000 American and another 200,000 allied troops in the first war televised in real time, Schwarzkopf's briefings made him a crowd favorite.
"I don't think anyone could have led that invasion like he did. He had the respect of all the commanders, they knew he was exactly on target with his thought process and his strategy," White says.
In Columbus, Schwarzkopf's legacy will live on inside the walls of the National Infantry Museum. White says the General went with him to Governor Sonny Perdue to ask for funding for the museum.
"He went before the legislature in Atlanta that day, I have never seen a human being as respected as he was," White says.
Serving two tours of duty in Vietnam and his success in Desert Storm, Schwarzkopf will long be respected and remembered.
"I would be happy if the history books said that I was a soldier who served his country with honor and loved his troops and loved his family, that's enough for me," Schwarzkopf once said.
President Obama called the General "an American original who stood stood tall for the country and army he loved."
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