“The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in battle.”
Norman Schwarzkopf (AKA:”Stormin’ Norman”)
Commander, US Central Command
Commander, Coalition Forces – Desert Storm
Died Yesterday (12/27/2012)
I remember seeing “Stormin’ Norman” on TV during Desert Storm. He calmly explained how new technology in weaponry was allowing U.S. and allied forces to steer a missile directly through a window and into the target of choice. We saw how the camera on another missile destroyed a bridge just before an Iraqi military vehicle started to cross. I was 14 at the time and just beginning to take notice of the outside world.
It seemed like everyone liked Schwarzkopf. Why was that?
Very simple reasons:
- Integrity played an important role in everything he did. There have been many commanders of our US forces that have had their integrity questioned – some of them very recently. I believe it was his integrity that led him to decline a promotion to Chief of Staff of the US Army and to his retirement in August after the end of Desert Storm. In retirement, he didn’t abuse his notoriety for his own self aggrandizement, but to promote causes he believed in.
- He communicated well with everyone. He shared as much information as he could. Never did you get the feeling he was holding something back. He held many more press conferences regarding Desert Storm than was expected and provided ample information and access to those seeking reasonable information.
- He expected the best from himself and everyone around him. In his autobiography “It Doesn’t Take a Hero”, Schwarzkopf relates how he risked his own life to save his soldiers in a minefield in Vietnam. Crawling through the minefield to an injured soldier after he himself had been injured, he pinned him down so the flailing man would not set off any more mines.
He later told his men regarding how strict he was: “When you get on that plane to go home, if the last thing you think about me is ‘I hate that son of a bitch’, then that is fine because you’re going home alive.”
I admired him. A leader in every sense of the word. We need more leaders like him in our government, our communities, our businesses and our homes.
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