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Gulf War commander Stormin’ Norman dies

Washington, Dec. 28 (Reuters): Norman Schwarzkopf Jr, the hard-charging US Army general whose forces smashed the Iraqi army in the 1991 Gulf War, has died at the age of 78, a US official said yesterday.

The highly decorated four-star general died at 1922GMT at his home in Tampa, Florida, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The cause of death was not immediately known.

Schwarzkopf, a burly Vietnam War veteran known to his troops as Stormin’ Norman, commanded more than 540,000 US troops and 200,000 allied forces in a six-week war that routed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s army from Kuwait in 1991, capping his 34-year military career.

Some experts hailed Schwarzkopf’s plan to trick and outflank Hussein’s forces with a sweeping armoured movement as one of the great accomplishments in military history. The manoeuvre ended the ground war in only 100 hours.

In a statement released by the White House, President Barack Obama called Schwarzkopf “an American original” whose “legacy will endure in a nation that is more secure because of his patriotic service”.

Former President George H.W. Bush, who built the international coalition against Iraq after the invasion of Kuwait, said he and his wife “mourn the loss of a true American patriot and one of the great military leaders of his generation,” according to a statement released by his spokesman. Bush has been hospitalised in Houston since late November.

Schwarzkopf was a familiar sight on international television during the war, clad in camouflage fatigues and a cap. He conducted fast-paced briefings and reviewed his troops with a purposeful stride and a physical presence of the sort that clears bar rooms.

 
 
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