Medal of Honor





Rank and organization: Lieutenant, U.S. Navy, SEAL Adviser, Strategic Technical Directorate Assistance Team, Headquarters, U.S. Military Assistance Command


Place and date: Quang Tri Province, Republic of Vietnam, 10 to 13 April 1972


Entered service at: Silver Spring, Maryland


Born: 14 January 1944, Jacksonville, Florida




Lt. Norris completed an unprecedented ground rescue of 2 downed pilots deep within heavily controlled enemy territory in Quang Tri Province. Lt. Norris, on the night of 10 April 1972, led a 5-man patrol through 2,000 meters of heavily controlled enemy territory, located 1 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, Lt. Norris led a 3-man team on 2 unsuccessful rescue attempts for the second pilot. On the afternoon of the 12th, a forward air controller located the pilot and notified Lt. Norris. Dressed in fishermen disguises and using a sampan, Lt. Norris and 1 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 machine gun fire. Lt. Norris called in an air strike which provided suppression fire and a smokescreen, 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, Lt. Norris enhanced the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.


The following e-mail was received on 31 May 1999:

Dear Sir;

This is written on the morning of Memorial Day. I came home from work this morning and suddenly realized what today was. When I got out on the net to look around for information on this very type of military history before I go to sleep for the day, I found your site. I appreciate the effort that you have gone to and applaud you.

But I would make one suggestion.

The one Medal of Honor winner I had the privilege to meet while I was in the Navy was Mr. Michael Thornton. He is a legend in the Navy, or at least he was while I was in. There is an important piece of information I hope you will add to his entry.

Michael Thornton is the only man to win the Medal of Honor for saving the life of a man who ALSO won the Medal of Honor, LT Tom Norris.

Thank You--- Wayne Roy < >(formerly ET3 USN)


The following e-mail message was received on 29 January 2000:

Tonight I had the rare privilege of having dinner with Mike Thornton, USN Seals, and Tom Norris, USN Seals, both of whom were wearing the Congressional Medal of Honor. As you know, Norris' citation was for gallantry in action in April of '72. Then in October of '72 Norriswas hit in the head with an AK47 round and believed dead in yet another firefight. Thornton, already safe on the beach, was part of Norris' group, and would not leave him for dead. He went back through fierce fire (and heavy friendly air bombardment) to retrieve Norris and drag him to the beach. Thornton then kept both of them afloat for nearly three hours before being rescued. Tonight Thornton said two 4" dressings could not cover Norris' head wound. To be in the company of such courageous men, and to listen to their stories is a humbling experience.

Chris Seger <> USNR, 1960-1964

On Friday, 16 October 1998, Naval Special Warfare Group Two, located at Little Creek, Virginia, had a dedication ceremony for the Lt. Thomas R. Norris Building. Thomas R. Norris is currently a Special Agent with the FBI.


Thanks to Rich Gapski,, for the information.


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