France Awards Schwarzkopf Kisses, Medal
Gulf War commander Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf received two kisses on the cheek Wednesday, along with France’s medal of Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor.
Schwarzkopf, wearing olive-green ceremonial dress, stood sharply at attention as a Foreign Legion band played the French and U.S. national anthems.
Gen. Maurice Schmitt, French chief of staff during the Gulf War, kissed the burly “Stormin’ Norman” on both cheeks as he pinned the medal on the American general, who was also made an honorary first-class private in the legendary French Foreign Legion.
Schwarzkopf, commander of the U.S.-led military coalition that ended Iraq’s occupation of Kuwait in February, said he was delighted to join the ranks of France’s crack troops.
The ceremony at the Foreign Legion headquarters in Aubagne marked a rare tribute to a foreign commander. Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor is the second-highest rank in the French national order, and the Foreign Legion rarely awards the distinction of honorary membership.
French and American forces formed close ties during the Gulf War, with the 12,000 French troops mounting a crucial flanking movement in the ground offensive that overcame and destroyed the entrenched army of Iraq’s Saddam Hussein.