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News | June 11, 2013

Florida Governor, USCENTCOM commander pay tribute to Gen. Schwarzkopf

By Sgt. Fredrick Coleman , CENTCOM Public Affairs

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – Florida Governor Rick Scott and the Commander of U.S. Central Command, Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, recognized a former USCENTCOM commander in a ceremony here, highlighting his selfless service and contributions to the state of Florida.

Army Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf Jr., was posthumously awarded the Great Floridian Award, an honor bestowed on only 66 other individuals since 1981. The award recognizes the outstanding achievements of men and women who have made significant contributions to the progress and welfare of Florida.

Gen. Schwarzkopf’s wife, Brenda, received the award for her husband who passed away in December 2012 from health complications.

“When retirement approached in 1991, ‘Norm’ and I had the opportunity to choose the next place we would call home. It didn’t take long for us to decide that staying here in the Tampa area was what we wanted to do,” said Brenda in her acceptance remarks. “For quite some time, the Schwarzkopf family has been able to call Florida home and that makes receiving the Great Floridian Award that much nicer. Recognition such as this lets us know that he continues to be thought of and admired for the man he was and the contribution he made in his life.”

Gen. Schwarzkopf is best known for his role during Operation Desert Storm. Then-President George H.W. Bush selected Schwarzkopf in 1990 to become the allied forces commander in response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. He planned and executed the operation with a force of more than 700,000 American and coalition troops that drove the Iraqi Army out of Kuwait in early 1991.

But today’s award was for a lesser known side of the general’s passion – community service. He spent most of his retired life supporting charities to include the Ronald McDonald House, Tampa Children’s Home, and Camp Boggy Creek, a year-round medical camp he and actor Paul Newman founded for children with serious illnesses.

“General Schwarzkopf didn’t know when and how to stop giving back to his country and his community,” said Gov. Scott. “He made a difference to the world and the world around him.”

Gen. Schwarzkopf joins a distinguished list of recipients, military and non-military, to receive the award. Past military recipients include Navy Capt. David McCampbell, the Navy’s all-time leading ace with 34 aerial victories during WWII; Army Lt. Gen. James N. Gavin, a parachute infantry commander who played an integral role during the invasion of Normandy; and Army Lt. Gen. Albert H. Blanding, who led the attack on Germany’s Hindenburg line.

“General Schwarzkopf, as you would imagine, is a legendary figure in these halls,” said Gen. Austin, speaking of HQ USCENTCOM. “I would argue that very few individuals have had as significant or as lasting an impact as he did, not only here, but throughout his long and distinguished career of service to our Army and to our nation.”