Following the sad news yesterday of General Norman Schwarzkopf’s death, I wanted to better pay my respects to the man by learning more about his background and military career.

I was surprised to find out that before he was “Stormin’ Norman” leading coalition forces to a swift victory against Iraqi forces during the Gulf War, he was the newly promoted Brigadier General Norman Schwarzkopf of the 24th Mechanized Infantry Division. There Schwarzkopf found himself in charge of ground forces in Grenada during Operation Urgent Fury, in 1983, as the Deputy Commander to Vice Admiral Joseph Metcalf III.

While Metcalf was in charge of the entire invasion force (Joint Task Force 120), the Army found it prudent to send in Schwarzkopf to make sure ground forces were being properly utilized. Schwarzkopf would take charge of two Ranger Battalions, the 82nd Airborne’s Ready Reaction Brigade, a large contingent of JSOCs Tier 1 units, and the 22nd Marine Amphibious Unit.

Point Salines Airport, Grenada
Point Salines Airport, Grenada

The most important component of the assault on the island nation was to be the combat parachute jump by the 1st and 2nd Ranger Battalions on Point Salines Airport on the Southern end of Grenada. Combat operations revolved around the Rangers securing the airport to bring in the remainder of ground forces to enter the fight. Once the airport was secured, the Rangers’ follow on mission was to secure the estimated 500+ U.S. citizens located at the True Blue campus 2 kilometers to the East of the drop zone – one of the primary reasons the U.S. invaded Grenada.