Top 8 General Norman “Stormin Norman” Schwarzkopf Quotes

General Norman “Stormin Norman” Schwarzkopf is a famous U.S. Army General, spending 35 years in uniform, and most notably remembered for his leadership during Operation Desert Storm in 1991.  Not only was he a great Army leader, but he was also a very popular motivational speaker.  Sadly, he passed away in December 2012.

What I would like to do in today’s post is share my top 8 General Norman Schwarzkopf quotes These are quotes that really resonated with me.  Each quote is in bold.  I also provide my take on each quote.

1.  “You can’t help someone get up a hill without getting closer to the top yourself.”

My Take: This means a lot, because a lot of people get too competitive to the point of trying to walk over other people in order to get to the top. If you help others around you succeed, you will succeed too. Develop your subordinates and watch them help you do even better.

2.  “When placed in command—take charge.” 

My Take: As an officer, I don’t shy away from being put in charge. Nobody should be afraid of the risk of being a leader, whether you are an NCO or an officer. Take the opportunity and achieve success!

3.  “Do what is right, not what you think the high headquarters wants or what you think will make you look good.” 

My Take: I’ve seen this a lot in the last 10 years. The true leaders don’t worry about how to make themselves look good, they know that their Soldiers are the ones that make them look good – and they enable their Soldiers and give them the credit, because they deserve it.

4.  “The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it.”  

My Take: I call this the gut instinct. We generally know what right and wrong is, and if something feels really wrong, we need to listen to that. Sometimes, the right thing feels harder than doing the wrong thing – but we have to make sure to do it, because we will feel better in the long run.

5.  “I believe that forgiving them is God’s function. Our job is simply to arrange the meeting.” 

My Take: This is an example of the Bear’s ability to pull absolutely no punches. He didn’t toe the PC line and always shot from the hip.

6.  Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy.” 

My Take: We can have all the strategy in the world, but if we can’t influence anybody to follow it, it is pointless. Character has a greater impact on Soldiers than anything else.

7.  “A professional soldier understands that war means killing people, war means maiming people, war means families left without fathers and mothers. All you have to do is hold your first dying soldier in your arms, and have that terribly futile feeling that his life is flowing out and you can’t do anything about it. Then you understand the horror of war. Any soldier worth his salt should be antiwar. And still there are things worth fighting for.” 

My Take: I believe this sums it up perfectly.

8. “As far as Saddam Hussein being a great military strategist: He is neither a strategist, nor is he schooled in the operational art, nor is he a tactician, nor is he a general, nor is he a soldier. Other than that, he’s a great military man.”

My Take: This one speaks for itself!

Final Thoughts

In summary, General Norman “Stormin Norman” Schwarzkopf was a famous U.S. Army General who led the U.S. military to success during Operation Desert Storm.  Although he passed away in 2012, his legacy lives on.  What are your favorite “Stormin Norman” quotes?  Leave a comment and let us know.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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5 thoughts on “Top 8 General Norman “Stormin Norman” Schwarzkopf Quotes”

  1. I love all of these quotes. The one that speaks to me the most is #4. I live by the words ‘Do the right thing ALL the time.’ To do otherwise has never ended well for me. I have never heard or read anything negative about this man. To the best of my knowledge he was loyal to God, country and family until the day he died. Though I have never met Gen. Schwarzkopf my family’s restaurant had the incredible honor of catering the guests at his funeral dinner at West Point.

  2. I would really like to know how “Stormin Norman” would handle the situation going on in the Ukraine right now. It seems to me that the administration we have right now doesn’t have enough respect to gain an edge. Telling Russia that we will stop “trading” with them is a joke. Russia has enough that they don’t “need” us. They are without character and strategy.

  3. These are all great General Schwartzkopf quotes. I personally like numbers 1, 4, and 7.

    One you didn’t put on the list is: True courage is being afraid, and going ahead and doing your job anyhow, that’s what courage is.

    That quote speaks so strongly to me, because fear is around every corner, but with courage we push on even though we fear.

    Thanks for this post. It speaks to my heart.

  4. Schwarzkof, or The Bear as he was also known, was true patriot and American hero! He was definitely a soldier’s soldier. His upfront, take charge attitude commanded respect. As a civilian, I felt safer knowing he was on our side. His quote about leadership, #7 is by far my favorite quote of his (and there are PLENTY to choose from) but it goes a long way in summing up who he was. Not just as a soldier, but as a man!

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