Retired Jan. 1, 1988.
Brigadier General Robert A. Norman is deputy defense adviser for the U.S. Mission to North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Brussels, Belgium. This mission is an integrated Defense-State Department organization. The ambassador is the U.S. permanent representative on the North Atlantic Council and reports directly to both secretaries on all matters at the political headquarters of the 16-nation alliance.
General Norman was born in 1934, in Rapid City, S.D., and graduated from Rye (N.Y.) High School in 1953. He earned a bachelor of arts degree in international relations with honors from Brown University in 1957 and a master of business administration degree from The George Washington University, Washington, D.C., in 1977. He graduated from Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., in 1969 and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, National Defense University, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C., in 1977 as a distinguished graduate.
After receiving primary flying training in T-34s and T-28s at Marianna Air Force Base, Fla., General Norman completed basic flying training at Craig Air Force Base, Ala., in T-33s. He then entered advanced fighter training and combat crew training in F-86F's at Williams Air Force Base, Ariz. The general returned to Craig Air Force Base for instructor pilot school before going to the 3576th Pilot Training Squadron at Vance Air Force Base, Okla., as a T-33 instructor pilot. Two years later he joined the Squadron Check Section, flying T-37s and T-33s.
In early 1964 General Norman went to Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., for counter insurgency school and then to Vietnamese language training at the Foreign Service Institute in Washington, D.C. He then went to Hurlburt Field, Fla., where he checked out in A-1E's before going to Southeast Asia. While assigned in the Republic of Vietnam, the general flew 422 combat missions in O-1s and A-1s as an air liaison officer and a forward air controller in support of the Vietnamese army and air force. He was also an air liaison officer with 3rd Corps headquarters.
From late 1965 to mid-1968 he flew F-4C's from Royal Air Force Station Bentwaters, England, with the 81st Tactical Fighter Wing. While there he served as command post duty officer, senior bomb commander, flight commander and standardization officer. He also acted as the executive officer for the 91st Tactical Fighter Squadron. After graduating from Army Command and General Staff College in July 1969, General Norman returned to Europe as an air defense officer with 4th Allied Tactical Air Force at Ramstein Air Base, West Germany, with duty in the Air Defense Operations Center. In November 1969 he became executive officer to the 4th Allied Tactical Air Force deputy commander for operations.
In mid-1973 he joined the 4th Tactical Fighter Wing at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., flying F-4s. Initially he served as the 336th Tactical Fighter Squadron's operations officer and then become commander of the 355th Tactical Fighter Squadron. Both were the first squadrons to be assigned the air superiority mission and were pioneers in dissimilar air combat tactics. He led his squadron on deployments to Bodo Air Base, Norway, in 1974 and to Spangdahlem Air Base, West Germany, in 1975. He then served as assistant deputy for operations and deputy for operations until July 1976.
After graduating from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, he was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., in the Directorate of Plans and Policy, where he was successively chief of the Security Assistance Division, the Middle-East Africa Division and an Air Force planner. From August 1979 to July 1980 General Norman served as vice commander of the 355th Tactical Training Wing at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., flying A-10s as an instructor pilot. He then returned to Air Force headquarters and became assistant director for joint and National Security Council matters in the Directorate of Plans. He transferred to Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe, Ramstein Air Base, in August 1982 and served as the inspector general for the command. In April 1983 he become commander of the 601st Tactical Control Wing, Sembach Air Base, West Germany, the largest and most diversified wing in U.S. Air Forces in Europe. He assumed his present duties in July 1985.
The general is a command pilot with more than 5,700 flying hours, primarily in fighter/training aircraft. He was last current in the A-10 and CH-53 in June 1985. His military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with nine oak leaf clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, Combat Readiness Medal, Republic of Vietnam Honor Medal 1st Class and Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with gold and silver stars. He has been awarded Vietnamese and Chilean air force pilot wings.
He was promoted to brigadier general Dec. 1, 1982, with date of rank Oct. 1, 1982.