Every now and then a headline will grab you by the heart and you fill up with emotions you didn't think you had. When I heard that General Schwartzkopf had died this evening, it affected me that way. I haven't thought of the man for a few years at least. I was one of half-a-million soldiers who served under the lead of "Stormin' Norman". He was a real soldier; when he was put in charge, he took charge. Later, after he retired, he kept his own council (with a few blistering exceptions) about how the second Gulf War was conducted.
The thing that a lot of folks may not know about him was that he was the battalion commander of the artillery battery that was "featured" in an ABC TV movie about a "friendly fire" incident in Vietnam. Norman was not responsible, directly, but he was in charge of that battalion and took some steam over the incident (which became well-known nationally not because of the incident itself but because of the stonewalling and covering-up that the Army attempted after the fact and how the family dug until they got true answers...never underestimate Carol
Burnett's resolve!). But that one incident did not define Norman "the Bear" Schwartzkopf....it was the two Silver Stars, the Bronze Star, and the Purple Heart that defined the man...he was a warrior, a soldier of the first order, an honorable man who pulled no punches with the press, his leaders, or his soldiers.
America lost a great warrior today. And those who served with him will be saddened by that loss.