Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr., also known as H. Norman Schwarzkopf, was a United States Army general. While serving as Commander of United States Central Command, he was commander of all coalition forces in the Persian Gulf War.
Born in Trenton, New Jersey, Schwarzkopf grew up in both the United States and Iran. He was accepted into the United States Military Academy, and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army in 1956. After a number of initial training programs, Schwarzkopf interrupted a stint as an academy teacher, serving in the Vietnam War first as an adviser to the South Vietnamese Army and later as a battalion commander. Schwarzkopf was highly decorated in Vietnam, being awarded three Silver Star Medals, two Purple Hearts, and the Legion of Merit. Rising through the ranks after the conflict, he later commanded the U.S. 24th Infantry Division and was one of the commanders of the Invasion of Grenada in 1983.
Assuming command of United States Central Command in 1988, Schwarzkopf was called on to respond to the Invasion of Kuwait in 1990 by the forces of Iraq under Saddam Hussein. Initially tasked with defending Saudi Arabia from Iraqi aggression, Schwarzkopf's command eventually grew to an international force of over 750,000 men. After diplomatic relations broke down, he planned and led Operation Desert Storm—an extended air campaign followed by a highly successful 100-hour ground offensive—which destroyed the Iraqi Army and liberated Kuwait in early 1991. Highly regarded for these exploits, Schwarzkopf became a national hero and was presented with many military honors for what historians termed one of the most successful campaigns in U.S. military history.