Brenda Schwarzkopf says only once did she lose her cool while her husband was commanding the allied troops in the Persian Gulf.

That night, she flipped on the television to learn Scud missiles were launched toward U.S. Central Command headquarters in Saudi Arabia."I was standing there in a real panic and the phone rang," she recalls. It was Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf.

"`Norm, there are five missiles heading your way," she remembers screaming, "like he's going to run somewhere and get out of the way."

"There was a calm voice. `Brenda, it's all right. Everything is OK,' " she said.

The couple met after a West Point football game and married 22 years ago.

Mrs. Schwarzkopf, 49, said she didn't need to hear the outcome of the war to know her husband is a hero. "I knew he would do a good job. It wasn't a surprise."

In telephone calls home, maybe twice a week, Schwarzkopf wants to know if the children - Cynthia, 20; Jessica, 18 and Christian, 13 - have a test coming up or if they passed. "He has never brought the office home."

The burly general who commanded more than 500,000 American troops is forceful, brusque, witty and charismatic, even at home, she said.

But there's a misconception about his temper, she said. "It isn't a hot temper. It is a short temper," she said. Five minutes later the problem is forgotten.

The 56-year-old four-star general is due to retire this summer.

Although his name has been tossed about as possibly running for some kind of office, Mrs. Schwarzkopf said he has never mentioned it.