|Published:||Dec 27, 2012 7:48 PM EST|
|Updated:||Dec 28, 2012 12:17 AM EST|
FORT MYERS, Fla. - Retired four-star General Norman Schwarzkopf passed away at age 78 due to complications with pneumonia.
His legacy lives on in many ways. Here in southwest Florida, those who knew him best are paying tribute. They describe the Schwarzkopf as powerful, dynamic, and above all, a true leader.
"He had a presence about him few leaders have," Retired Lt. Col. Gary Bryant said.
"He was a motivator," Retired Gen. James Dozier said. "He was a leader and he could get things done."
Dozier was Schwarzkopf's classmate at West Point. The two came back as instructors in the 60s.
"I've seen him get before a class of cadets who really didn't want to be in a classroom, but by the time he was done with them, boy, they were just enthusiastic about what they were doing," Dozier said.
Schwarzkopf had an incredible military career. He was a decorated combat solider in Vietnam. He commanded the U.S. led international coalition that successfully drove Saddam Hussein's forces out of Kuwait. And, everyone has a story.
"He and his unit were caught in a mine field and he led his unit out of the mine field walking ahead of them," Dozier said.
"He kept note cards in his upper shirt pocket and any time a soldier was missing or unaccounted for, out of half a mililon soldiers, General Schwarzkopf would take the time to write that soldier's name on the card, and he cared about that person," Bryant said.
Schwarzkopf was known as "Stormin' Norman" for his explosive temper. But, Bryant says his sense of humor was just as strong.
"We could clown around," Bryant said. "He had a great sense of humor. Just a hell of a guy in every way."
"He did a great job for the country," Dozier said, holding back tears. "We'll miss him."
Dozier tells us that at a recent Westpoint class reunion, they dedicated a bust to Schwarzkopf, which now sits in the library.
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