PARKERSBURG - Local veterans reacted Friday to the news of the death of retired U.S. Army Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf Jr.
"I thought he was a good guy, " said Bill Terrell, commander of the VFW Post 8127 in Vienna and who served in the U.S. Army from 1965 to 1967. "I think he did the right thing. He was kind of young at 78, to die."
Terrell said people tend to think a leader like Schwarzkopf will live forever.
In this Jan. 13, 1991, photo, General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, commander of U.S. troops in the Gulf, gazes from the window of his small jet on his way out to visit U.S. troops in the desert in Saudi Arabia. Schwarzkopf died Thursday in Tampa, Fla. He was 78. (AP Photo)
"I didn't have the opportunity to serve under him, but I wish I had," Terrell said. "We need more men like him; he should have run for office."
Schwarzkopf, 78, died Thursday in Tampa, Fla., of complications from pneumonia.
Schwarzkopf, a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, commanded the U.S.-led international coalition that drove Saddam Hussein's forces out of Kuwait in 1991.
A much-decorated combat soldier in Vietnam, Schwarzkopf was known popularly as "Stormin' Norman" for a notoriously explosive temper.
"He was a good man who was good for the service and good for the country," said Norman Farnsworth of Parkersburg, who served in the U.S. Air Force from 1957 to 1961.
Another area veteran agreed Schwarzkopf should have pursued a civilian post in the government.
"He was a gentleman to start with. I hate to see anybody not get praised for what they have done, because they should," said Bob Weekly of Parkersburg, who served in the U.S. Army from 1960 to 1965. "I think he should have run for office. He would have made a good secretary of state."
"I remember reading about General Schwarzkopf's death," said Joseph Smith of Parkersburg, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1965 to 1967. "He was an outstanding general and he did a very good job handling the situation he was handed."
Smith added he would have liked to see Schwarzkopf run for office.
"It would have been nice to see him run for president," Smith said. "I think it would have been an opportunity to help make America better."
Schwarzkopf lived in retirement in Tampa, where he had served in his last military assignment as commander-in-chief of U.S. Central Command. That is the headquarters responsible for U.S. military and security concerns in nearly 20 countries from the eastern Mediterranean and Africa to Pakistan.