WEST POINT, N.Y. — Former Secretary of State Colin Powell has ushered his late friend Norman Schwarzkopf back to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
At a service for Schwarzkopf today, Powell said simply: “Norman Schwarzkopf, Class of ‘56, welcome home.”
Schwarzkopf and Powell are linked in memory by the first Gulf War, when then-Gen. Schwarzkopf led the lightning fast assault to push Saddam Hussein's forces out of Kuwait in 1991 while Powell was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, the no-nonsense Desert Storm commander famously nicknamed “Stormin’ Norman,” will be buried at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
His family and friends joined Kuwaiti officials, U.S. dignitaries, gray clad cadets and a detail of New Jersey state troopers for a memorial service in the academy's gothic chapel tdoay. His remains were to be buried afterward at the cemetery on the grounds of the storied military institution.
Schwarzkopf commanded the U.S.-led international coalition that drove Saddam Hussein's forces out of Kuwait in 1991. He was 78 when he died in Tampa on Dec. 27 of complications from pneumonia.
Schwarzkopf graduated from West Point in 1956 and later served two tours in Vietnam, first as an adviser to South Vietnamese paratroops and later as a battalion commander in the U.S. Army's Americal Division. While many disillusioned career officers left the military after the war, Schwarzkopf stayed to helped usher in institutional reforms. He was named commander in chief of U.S. Central Command at Tampa's MacDill Air Force Base in 1988.
The general's “Stormin’ Norman” nickname became popular in the lead-up to Operation Desert Storm, the six-week aerial campaign that climaxed with a massive ground offensive Feb. 24-28, 1991. Iraqis were routed from Kuwait in 100 hours before U.S. officials called a halt.
Schwarzkopf spent his retirement years in Tampa. While he campaigned for President George W. Bush in 2000, Schwarzkopf maintained a low profile in the public debate over the second Gulf War against Iraq.
Schwarzkopf will be buried near his father, Col. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, the founder and commander of the New Jersey State Police. The academy cemetery also holds the remains of such notable military figures as Gen. William Westmoreland, Lt. Col. George Custer and 1st Lt. Laura Walker, who became the first female graduate killed in action when she died in 2005 in Afghanistan.
Schwarzkopf and his wife, Brenda, had three children: Cynthia, Jessica and Christian.