US & Canada

Norman Schwarzkopf, retired US general, dies aged 78

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Media captionThe BBC's Richard Galpin looks back at Gen Norman Schwarzkopf's military career

Retired US General Norman Schwarzkopf, who led troops in the 1991 Gulf War, has died aged 78.

Gen Schwarzkopf - known as Stormin' Norman - was commander of coalition forces in the first Gulf War in 1990-91.

The US-led coalition drove Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's forces out of Kuwait.

Former US President George H W Bush described Gen Schwarzkopf as "one of the great military leaders of his generation".

Gen Schwarzkopf spent his retirement in Tampa, Florida, where he had served in his last military assignment as commander-in-chief of US Central Command.

His military success made him one of America's most famous modern generals, although some criticised him for negotiating ceasefire terms which allowed Saddam Hussein to remain in power, says the BBC's Ben Wright in Washington.

President Bush, who was in office during the first Gulf War, said he "mourned the loss" of Gen Schwarzkopf, "one of the great military leaders of his generation".

Mr Bush, who remains in intensive care at the Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas, issued a statement, saying: "A distinguished member of that Long Gray Line hailing from West Point, General Schwarzkopf, to me, epitomised the 'duty, service, country' creed that has defended our freedom and seen this great nation through our most trying international crises.

"More than that, he was a good and decent man - and a dear friend. Barbara and I send our condolences to his wife Brenda and his wonderful family."

US Republican Senator John McCain tweeted that Gen Schwarzkopf was "one of the great American heroes".

"We thank him for his service," he said.

US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta also paid tribute to the general, saying his 35 years of service had "left an indelible imprint on the United States military and on the country".

"His bravery during two tours in Vietnam earned him three silver stars, and set him on the path to lead our troops into battle in Grenada, and then to take charge of the overall allied effort in the first Gulf War as Commander of United States Central Command," he said.

"General Schwarzkopf's skilled leadership of that campaign liberated the Kuwaiti people and produced a decisive victory for the allied coalition.

"In the aftermath of that war, General Schwarzkopf was justly recognised as a brilliant strategist and inspiring leader. Today, we recall that enduring legacy and remember him as one of the great military giants of the 20th Century."

During Operation Desert Storm, Gen Schwarzkopf famously used one of his regular news conferences to taunt his opponent.

"As far as Saddam Hussein being a great military strategist, he is neither a strategist, nor is schooled in the operational art, nor is he a tactician, nor is he a general, nor is he a soldier: other than that, he's a great military man - I want you to know that," he said.

Gen Schwarzkopf's sometimes fiery temper meant that he clashed with subordinates and superiors alike, including the then Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen Colin Powell.

Despite this and his bluff appearance, he was smarter and more diplomatic than many critics gave him credit for, says BBC world affairs correspondent Nick Childs.

After the first Gulf War Gen Schwarzkopf became a national celebrity, but always rejected suggestions that he run for office himself.

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