Retired Dec. 31, 1963. Died Sep. 12, 1988.
Lauris Norstad was born in Minneapolis, Minn., in 1907. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy June 12, 1930 and was commissioned a second lieutenant of Cavalry.
That September he entered Primary Flying School at March Field, Calif., and graduated from Advanced Flying School and was transferred to the Air Corps in June 1931. Going to Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, in January 1932, he was assigned to the 18th Pursuit Group, assuming command of it in July 1933. In March 1936 he was named adjutant of the Ninth Bomb Group there. Entering the Air Corps Tactical School at Maxwell Field, Ala., in September 1939, he graduated three months later and returned to Mitchel Field as officer in charge of the Ninth Bomb Group Navigation School.
Moving to Langley Field, Va., in July 1940, General Norstad was Adjutant of the 25th Bomb Group, and the following November he was named Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence of General Headquarters Air Force there. In February 1942 he was appointed a member of the Advisory Council, to the commanding general of the Army Air Forces at Washington, D.C.
That August General Norstad was named assistant chief of staff for operations of the l2th Air Force, going to England with it the following month, and to Algiers, North Africa in October 1942. The following February he assumed additional duty as assistant chief of staff for operations of the Northwest African Air Forces. In December 1943 he was appointed director of operations of the Mediterranean Allied Air Forces at Algiers, moving with it to Caserta, Italy, two months later.
Transferred to Washington, D.C. in August 1944, General Norstad was chief of staff of the 20th Air Force with added duty of deputy chief of Air Staff at Army Air Force Headquarters. He was relieved of this additional duty May 8, 1945, and assumed additional duty as assistant chief of Air Staff for Plans at Army Air Force Headquarters. Relieved of assignment as chief of staff of the 20th Air Force in February 1946, he continued as assistant chief of air staff for plans until the following June, when he was appointed director of the Plans and Operations Division of the War Department at Washington, D.C. On Oct. 1, 1947 he was appointed deputy chief of staff for operations of the Air Force, and the following May assumed additional duty as acting vice chief of staff of the Air Force.
Joining the U.S. Air Forces in Europe in October 1950 General Norstad was commander in chief, USAFE, with Headquarters at Wiesbaden, Germany. On April 2, 1951 he assumed additional duty as commanding general of the Allied Air Forces in Central Europe under the Supreme Headquarters of the Allied Powers in Europe. He was designated air deputy to the supreme allied commander, Europe, SHAPE, on July 27, 1953.
Relieved of duty as air deputy to supreme allied commander, Europe Nov. 20, 1956, the president appointed General Norstad to become supreme allied commander, Europe, and commander in chief, U.S. European Command.
His decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Silver Star, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal, and the French Legion of Honor. He is rated a command pilot, combat observer, and technical observer.