General H. Norman Schwarzkopf: Requiescat in Pace

I feel that retired generals should never miss an opportunity to remain silent concerning matters for which they are no longer responsible.

General H. Norman Schwarzkopf

General H. Norman Schwarzkopf who led the allied forces in the Gulf War of 1990-1991 has died today at age 78.  Schwarzkopf was a tough, no nonsense combat soldier who led from the front.  He was awarded the silver star three times for acts of heroism.  He was tough to work for, earning his Army nickname of The Bear, a testament to both his temper and his exacting standards.  He never, however, asked more from his men than he was willing to give himself.  He was part of the generation of young officers who after Vietnam rebuilt the Army and turned it into a formidable all volunteer force.  In retirement he refused all attempts to convince him to enter politics and devoted himself to charitable work.  He was the living embodiment of the motto of the US Army infantry:  “Follow Me”.

9 Responses to General H. Norman Schwarzkopf: Requiescat in Pace

  • “Duty, Honor, Country”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SgqSI1BESVE

    We sent our son a “US Infantry” commemorative coin for Christmas. We recently began “skiping” (don’t ask me how). So, we knew he had not receieved it on Christmas Day.

    He received the coin, posted a picture on Facebook. His “Thank You” included: “FOLLOW ME.”

    Greet them ever with grateful hearts.

  • “I feel that retired generals should never miss an opportunity to remain silent concerning matters for which they are no longer responsible.”

    A common French nickname for the army is « La grande muette » [the big silent one]

  • “He was tough to work for, earning his Army nickname of The Bear, a testament to both his temper and his exacting standards. He never, however, asked more from his men than he was willing to give himself. ”

    Hard asses like this are the best to work for, difficulties not withstanding. For one, you always know where you stand with them.

  • Hard asses like this are the best to work for, difficulties not withstanding. For one, you always know where you stand with them.

    In my line of work, you are more likely to encounter the pseudo-hard ass: dames who pick a target, harass that target, and then pick another target when the previous target gets fed up and leaves. In two offices where I have worked, among the series of targets was the most capable employee in the office (during the period where I could observe). One of the harassers I worked for was an occasionally engaging woman under a good deal of pressure. As for the other, one of the supervisors used to put strips from the Daily Dilbert up in the staff lounge which replicated the exchanges the department manager was having with people.

  • The pseudo-hard asses are a different story. I was speaking more about the military. The leadership style in the military wouldn’t fly in the civilian world.

  • I suspect it depends on the composition of the workforce, and the degree to which the work done has operational measures of competence.

  • Hard asses like this are the best to work for, difficulties not withstanding. For one, you always know where you stand with them.

    “Nice” bosses generally stab you in the back when you thought everything was shiny.

  • What a pity, General Schwarzkopf was not allowed to gain the victory he wanted in the Gulf War. He could possibly have prevented the war in Iraq that the son got the blame for instead of the faulty political actions of his father. There is no substitute for victory in war as Karl von Clausewitz insisted. America has not had total victory in war since WWI. Lack of victory in Korea, and Vietnam continues to haunt our military commanders and escalates our casualties that seem to have died in vain.
    General Schwarzkopf indeed deserves merit and praise for his military career. As a retired Air Force officer, I now salute a great commander. Rest in the peace you could never have in this world of good and evil.

  • Like many at the time I thought that the ceasefire came too early and regretted that Schwarzkopf was not allowed to finish the job. However, the result would have been the same as obtained twelve years later, with the US taking Baghdad and the British Basra, and the post-victory problems would have been the same.

    Robert A Rowland’s comment only makes sense if for WWI you read WW2. Both Germany and Japan were completely defeated and occupied. The Korean War successfully restored the status quo ante bellum. True, in Vietnam military victory (the defeat of the Tet offensive) was not followed through. I would argue that the most impressive and long-lasting achievement of the US in the post-war world was victory in the Cold War.

    Norman Schwarzkopf was everything we Limeys expect (and respect) in an American commander. Requiescat in pace.

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