Printer Friendly

The Bear.

General H. Norman Schwarzkopf was born 57 years ago in Trenton, NJ. A veteran of Vietnam where he received two Purple Hearts and the Silver Star, Schwarzkopf graduated from West Point as a Second Lieutenant in 1956. He went on to earn a Masters degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Southern California in 1964.

During his 34 years of military service, General Schwarzkopf earned the Master Parachutist Badge and Combat Infantryman Badge in addition to receiving two Silver Stars for valor in Vietnam. Other awards include the Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, Legon of Merit, and several medals for distinguished service. Having served several tours in Europe, the general speaks French and German.

He rose from a field grade officer to general officer in 1978 as a Brigadier General. With an IQ of 170, his sharp mind and decisive leadership abilities quickly drew his second, third and, finally, fourth star. His final assignment was Commander-in-Chief of the United States Central Command from 1988 until his retirement following Desert Storm.

General Schwarzkopf grew up in a hunting and shooting family. He remained active in the shooting sports throughout his career, and has actively worked at promoting the shooting sports on various bases he has commanded. His passion is bird hunting and he is grateful to pursue his hobby more actively since his retirement.

He is an outspoken critic of the "elitist attitude" is some segments of the shooting sports, a theme he addresses frequently. He remains active in the new game of sporting clays, which the general says is his favorite practice for bird hunting.

The affable general and his 14-year-old son Christian were assembling their Beretta over-under shotguns early in the morning before the Schwarzkopf Cup when I caught a free moment to speak with him:

SI: How did you first become interested in Sporting Clays?

Schwarzkopf: Well, I read a lot about it. I subscribe to a lot of sporting magazines and I read about it. I like to bird shoot and for years I've shot skeet and trap -- not competitively, but really to tune myself up for bird shooting. Therefore, when I heard about Sporting Clays I thought, "Gee, that sounds like absolutely the ideal way to tune yourself up for bird shooting."

SI: Do you still shoot trap and skeet?

Schwarzkopf: Oh, yeah, I still shoot trap and skeet! I go out there with my son. He started out on skeet -- as well all did, probably -- and he still likes very much to shoot skeet, so I go out with him and we shoot a lot.

SI: What's your favorite kind of bird shooting?

Schwarzkopf: Any kind of bird! Really, I love it all. I love to quail hunt, I love to pheasant hunt, I love to duck hunt, I love to goose hunt, I love to turkey hunt -- I'm especially crazy about turkey hunting! You name it and I like to do it.

SI: Where do you hunt?

Schwarzkopf: Everywhere! I was stationed in Alaska and I hunted in Alaska and I hunted in Georgia. I've hunted in Washington State and Alabama, I guess you could say I've hunted everyplace!

I didn't mention chukar, that's another bird that I enjoy shooting. The same goes for partridge.

And how could I forget doves? I should know -- I just was in Dallas last weekend shooting doves!

SI: I understand that when you were commanding bases you had a policy of either opening shooting ranges or encouraging shooting at the skeet and trap club on base.

Schwarzkopf: I wouldn't say that I opened them; most bases I was at had skeet and trap ranges already. Many of them had fallen into disuse, so when I came in I was interested in using them myself. But, more importantly, I was interested in making sure that those trap and skeet ranges started being available for the young soldiers for their recreation.

Many had fallen into disuse because -- this is one of my pet peeves about shooting -- of the fact that it had turned into an elitist sport where very few people used that range and then the range didn't pay for itself. The net result -- it finally closed.

When I encouraged opening a range again, I would also encourage programs that got the young shooters out there -- the new shooters, people who had never shot before -- and they'd come outand they'd feel welcome.

I ended up installing reloading machines in all of them and providing the ability for these kids to buy components so that they could reload without an exorbitant cost.

I really wanted to turn it into what it should be -- a fun sport for everybody! It's not just a sport for the elitists, you know, for the 200-straight shooters.

SI: I see that you have your son Christian out here today. Did your dad take you out shooting and hunting?

Schwarzkopf: Hunting, yes. My dad was an avid hunter. We did more big game hunting than we did shotgun shooting. He was not a shotgunner. But my dad was the one who introduced me to shooting. He was an excellent shot -- a competition-level pistol shot -- and so he used to love to shoot pistols. We even had a little pistol range in our basement.

SI: Really?

Schwarzkopf: Yes, when I was a young man.

SI: Airsi or...?

Schwarzkopf: No, no, he had a real range with a sheet of armor plate. You could go down there in the basement and shoot into this with a .45.

SI: Have you ever done any pistol or rifle shooting?

Schwarzkopf: Yes, I did when I was younger. A lot! I was on a couple of rifle teams when I was younger.

SI: When you were over in Desert Storm, did you carry a sidearm with you?

Schwarzkopf: Yes.

SI: General Patton was famous for his mismatched pair of pearl handled revolvers. Did you carry anything other than army issue?

Schwarzkopf: No, I used the standard army issue. I've always used the standard military issue sidearm wherever I've been. Back when it was a .45, I used a .45. Now it's a 9mm Beretta and I use that.

Frankly, one of the reasons is that I think, as a commander, if you decide to wear something different than what your troops are wearing then your troops begin to think that, for some reason, they shouldn't have confidence in what they're wearing.

If the boss wears something different, they why should I have confidence in what I'm wearing? So I always wear exactly what the troops wear.

SI: Do you have a favorite?

Schwarzkopf: Do I have a favorite gun?

SI: If you could choose a Colt .45 or a Beretta 9mm to carry as a soldier, which would you pick?

Schwarzkopf: I shoot just about as well with both of them.

SI: Do you?

Schwarzkopf: I do. Either one is a great weapon as far as I'm concerned. They both have proven themselves over the years. The Beretta's proving itself now; the Colt .45 certainly proved itself for years and years.

They're good weapons. I can say the one big advantage that the Beretta 9mm has over the Colt .45 is, of course, your magazine capacity is so much greater. That's one of the things I liked about the Beretta. You know, I feel if I ever get into a fight where I've got to shoot, I want to have as much ammunition in that magazine to begin with as I can!

SI: What was your first gun?

Schwarzkopf: You know, I think it was a Daisy. As a matter of fact, I know it was -- it was a Daisy Red Ryder.

SI: And you'd go stalking butterflies and dragonflies...

Schwarzkopf: I'd go stalking anything I couls talk! Never got much, but it was always fun. You know, even then I learned that the fun is in the chase, not necessarily in the killing.

SI: Do you do any big game hunting?

Schwarzkopf: Yes, I have. As I said, I was in Alaska for one tour so I have Dall sheep and a big caribou and this sort of thing. But I now hunt very, very selectively.

I really love bird shooting. Big game shooting -- well, I really like the being there more than the hunting.

SI: How did you get your nickname of the "bear"?

Schwarzkopf: That was really given to me by the troops up in Alaska when I was up there. I think it was more a term of affection than anything else, you know. I think my size probably had something to do with it... and my gentle disposition!

SI: Have you ever hunted bear?

Schwarzkopf: No, I don't shoot bear. The bear to me is the last symbol of the wilderness and I just don't believe in hunting bear.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Publishers' Development Corporation
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:General H. Norman Schwarzkopf
Author:Hopkins, Cameron
Publication:Shooting Industry
Article Type:Interview
Date:Dec 1, 1991
Words:1474
Previous Article:Schwarzkopf Cup 1991.
Next Article:Robert Stack: on guns and clays.
Topics:


Related Articles
General failure; what the press doesn't tell you about America's military leaders.
Schwarzkopf Cup 1991.
The Generals' War: The Inside Story of the Conflict in the Gulf.
EUROPE AT WAR: DAY 71: NORM FURY; Gulf War chief slams Clinton over Kosovo.
WAR ON TERROR: ALLIED FRICTION: I AM NOT STORMIN'.
POWELL FAVORS GOVERNMENT INQUIRY INTO WAR ILLNESS.
SOMETHING FOR THE WEEKEND: Where are they now? Stormin' Norman.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2016 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters