'Stormin Norman,' lauded military general, dies at 78

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December 28, 2012, 6:35 am
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(NECN/WFLA: Josh Green) - General Norman Schwarzkopf, known for his leadership during the Gulf War in the 90s and for being the former head of Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base, has died in Tampa, Fla.

Schwarzkopf is best known for commanding the U.S.-led coalition that drove Saddam Hussein's forces out of Kuwait.

"If the Iraqis are dumb enough to attack, they are going to pay a terrible price for it."

The country knew him as Stormin Norman.

"Come on in. come on in around me, guys."

The straight-shooting general took on Saddam Hussein in the 90s.

"If he dares come across that border and comes down here, I'm completely confident we're going to kick his butt when he gets here."

When he retired from central command, he called Tampa home and his friends knew him as an avid outdoorsman who helped use his shooting skills to raise money for a children's home.

"He was in love with his country,” says his friend Carl Norton. “He was almost possessed by a sense of duty."

Norton met the West Point graduate during a shooting lesson and became close friends. One of his most heart-felt moments with Schwarzkopf was when a little girl asked him a question at a local school.

"And she stood up and she said ... ‘General Schwarzkopf, when you were in Iraq ... did you pray?’ No one expected that question, okay? And you know what he said? His reply was ... ‘every day.’"

Schwarzkopf's family says he was fighting prolonged illness and Parkinson's disease. He died of respiratory failure; it was unexpected but he was surrounded by family.

"I think America has suffered a tremendous loss...the loss of a great patriot."

President Barack Obama released a statement, calling Norman Schwarzkopf an ‘American original.’

Tags: military, pneumonia , Iraq, President Barack Obama, Tampa, obituary, stormin norman, general normal schwarzkopf, general, gulf war, carl norton, sasddam hussein
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