Not since Dwight Eisenhower in World War II had a military man won the affection of the American public to the degree that General H. Norman Schwarzkopf did. As commander of Operation Desert Storm, he gave the American people the satisfaction of seeing their armed forces triumph in a decisive confrontation with a hated enemy. After the frustration and heartbreak of the Vietnam war, this victory helped many Americans regain an almost-forgotten pride in their men and women in uniform. Credit for this went in large part to General Schwarzkopf, a visionary commander who won and kept the undying loyalty of his troops.
General Schwarzkopf was a second-generation West Point graduate. His father was also called General H. Norman Schwarzkopf. (The "H" stood for Herbert, a name Schwarzkopf senior hated so much he only gave his son the initial.) From West Point, the younger Norman Schwarzkopf served his country in Europe and all over the United States. He spent two separate tours of duty in Vietnam, where he was wounded twice and repeatedly decorated for bravery.
He saw action again as Commander of U.S. ground forces in Grenada and capped his career with the triumphant expulsion of the Iraqi army from Kuwait. He returned home to the hero's welcome he and so many other Vietnam veterans had missed after their first experience of war. Although he retired from the army shortly after this triumph, General Schwarzkopf remains, for many Americans, the ideal of the American fighting man.