The President of the United States
in the name of The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting the
Medal of Honor
NORRIS, THOMAS R.
Rank and organization: Lieutenant, U.S.
Navy, SEAL Advisor, 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, Md. Born:
14 January 1944, Jacksonville, Fla.
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,
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 machinegun fire. Lt. 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, Lt. Norris enhanced the finest
traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.