View Full Version : Medal of Honor Thomas Rolland Norris

07-22-2009, 02:29 PM
Thomas Rolland Norris
* Date of birth: 14 Jan. 1944
* Place of birth: Jacksonville, Fla.
* Home of record: Silver Springs, Md.

The two pilots rescued by Lieutenant Norris were Mark Clark (son of the famous WWII general) and Iceal Hambleton, whose story was told in the movie "Bat 21". Lt. Norris highly classified rescue was omitted from the screenplay. The Vietnamese SEAL who accompanied him was one of only two Vietnamese awarded the Navy Cross during the Vietnam War.

Awards and Citations

Medal of Honor

Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

For extraordinary heroism in action in the Republic of Vietnam from 10 - 13 April 1972, as a Sea-Air-Land (SEAL) Advisor with the U.S. Military Assistance Command. Lieutenant Norris completed an unprecedented ground rescue of two downed pilots deep within heavily controlled enemy territory in Quang Tri Province. Lieutenant Norris, on the night of 10 April, led a five-man patrol through 2,000 meters of heavily controlled enemy territory, located one of the downed pilots at daybreak, and returned to the Forward Operating Base (FOB). On 11 April, after a devastating mortar and rocket attack on the small FOB, Lieutenant Norris led a three-man team on two unsuccessful rescue attempts for the second pilot. On the afternoon of the 12th, a forward air controller located the pilot and notified Lieutenant Norris. Dressed in fishermen disguises and using a sampan, Lieutenant Norris and one Vietnamese traveled throughout that night and found the injured pilot at dawn. Covering the pilot with bamboo and vegetation, they began the return journey, successfully evading a North Vietnamese patrol. Approaching the FOB, they came under heavy machinegun fire. Lieutenant Norris called in an air strike which provided suppression fire and a smoke screen, allowing the rescue party to reach the FOB. By his outstanding display of decisive leadership, undaunted courage, and selfless dedication in the face of extreme danger, Lieutenant Norris enhanced the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. Thomas Rolland Norris

Service: Navy