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Valley military officer remembers late Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf

In this Sept. 14, 1990 file photo, U.S. Army Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, commander of U.S. forces in Saudi Arabia, answers questions during an interview in Riyadh. Schwarzkopf died Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012 in Tampa, Fla. He was 78. (AP Photo/David Longstreath, File)

LITCHFIELD PARK, ARIZ. -- Veterans of Operation Desert Storm are calling it an honor to have battled alongside the late General Norman Schwarzkopf.

Major Edward Pulito served under Schwarzkopf during Desert Storm in the 1990s. He remembers the general as a people person.

"One of the things that he told us is ‘Mission first, people always,'" said Pulito. "Those are the kind of comments that really stick with you.

"When you hear his name, I'm going to get choked up. The reason is because I know what he did, I know what he did for the Kuwaiti people. And I know what he did in honoring the sacrifices of those that he led."

Although he didn't know Schwarzkopf personally, Pulito did shake hands with him several times and met him at several military events in Tampa after the war. He remembers the general's retirement in 1992.

"He went out at the top of his game, at the top of his level," said Pulito. "I don't advocate for war. No one does, but the thing about it is that if you're going to go to war, you need generals like that that have insight, that have drive, commitment, and more importantly, understand the battlefield principles."

Pulito said that Schwarzkopf's death is a tremendous loss for the United States.

"Anytime a patriot passes, we remember, we honor and we understand that the sacrifices that he and his family made for our country are not free."

Schwarzkopf, who was the leader of coalition forces during Operation Desert Storm, died Thursday of pneumonia at the age of 78.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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