By CNN Staff
(CNN) – Retired Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, who commanded coalition forces during the Gulf War, died Thursday, a U.S. official said. He was 78.
After Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, Mr. Schwarzkopf directed 700,000 coalition troops that engaged in a six-week air assault of Iraqi forces in January 1991. That was followed by a swift ground campaign that pushed Saddam Hussein’s forces out of Kuwait.
Former President George H.W. Bush, who is hospitalized, said the general was a “true American patriot and one of the great military leaders of his generation.”
Gen. Schwarzkopf went to the U.S. Military Academy and graduated in 1956, according to Britannica Online.
He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Army. The officer served two tours of duty in Vietnam.
In 1988, Mr. Schwarzkopf was appointed commander of U.S. Central Command.
He made a reputation as a plain-spoken commander when he gave media briefings during Operation Desert Storm. He came to be known as “Stormin’ Norman.”
Gen. Schwarzkopf retired in August 1991 and wrote an autobiography entitled “It Doesn’t Take a Hero.”
The general also hit the lecture circuit and was a military analyst for NBC.