Lt. Thomas Norris
Recently, Lt. Thomas Norris, Medal of Honor recipient passed through Denver International Airport with his family. He was honored with well wishers including civilians, the military community, and the Patriot Guard Riders. The following information is from the Patriot Guard Riders website.
“For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a SEAL Advisor with the Strategic Technical Directorate Assistance Team, Headquarters, U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam. During the period 10 to 13 April 1972, 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 machine gun 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 United States Naval Service.”
“For those interested in military history, Lt. Norris, six months after the events leading to the awarding of his Medal of Honor, was critically injured in combat. He was so badly injured with a head wound, he was left for dead. A fellow Navy SEAL, Michael Thornton went on the mission to recover Lt. Norris’ “body.” Michael Thornton found the Lieutenant to be barely alive. SEAL Thornton’s rescue of Lt. Thomas Norris led to a Medal of Honor for Thornton. This was the first time in over one hundred years that a Medal of Honor was awarded to the rescuer of another Medal of Honor recipient.”
It is a privilege for Star Spangled Boomerang to acknowledge Lt. Thomas Norris and Navy Seal Michael Thornton’s courage and leadership.
Thank you PGR’s for honoring Lt. Thomas Norris and our military community. Thank you also for bringing awareness to our civilian population. Your presence inspires respect and gratitude to those who have given so much. If you are not aware of what the Patriot Guard Riders stand for, here is their mission statement from their website.
“We don’t care what you ride, what your political views are, or whether you’re a “hawk” or a “dove”. It is not a requirement to be a veteran. It doesn’t matter where you’re from or what your station in life is. You don’t even have to ride. All we require is that you show respect for those who have served our country.
We do many types of missions and have many opportunities for people to become involved in our organization. Come see us in action, and we guarantee you’ll experience the same feelings that have brought us all together to honor our troops.” http://www.coloradopgr.org/index.htm
Photos by Robert Waples, Patriot Guard Rider.