By Ms. Lindsay M Bryant (AMC)August 27, 2012
LETTERKENNY ARMY DEPOT, Chambersburg, Pa.-- Chambersburg native and Letterkenny Army Depot employee, retired Sgt. 1st Class John W. Norman, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2D Battalion, 70th Armor Regiment, 101st Airborne (Air Assault) was awarded the Purple Heart during a ceremony at the Letterkenny Headquarters on Aug. 27.
The medal was presented by Army Materiel Command Commanding General, Gen. Dennis L. Via, to recognize Norman's sacrifice and the wounds suffered when his convoy was hit with an improvised explosive device during Operation Iraqi Freedom on Jan. 22, 2004.
"Award ceremonies like this give us the opportunity to pause and reflect on the important things in life like service and sacrifice," Via said. "I am deeply honored for this opportunity to participate and pay tribute to a great Soldier."
Norman graduated from Chambersburg Area Senior High School in 1987 and joined the Army on Nov. 7, 1990. He completed assignments at Fort Sill Okla., Germany, Norway and Bosnia before joining the 309thTransportation Company reserve unit in Greencastle Pa. After the events of Sept. 11 Norman volunteered to go back on active duty as a Cavalry Scout.
"I wanted to see action so I signed up to be a scout," Norman said. "I saw burning buildings and people mangled on the streets. Knowing what I know now I wouldn't have done it, but I'm proud of my service and glad I did it."
He completed a second deployment in January 2006 then returned to the reserves in August 2006 where he completed his final deployment. Norman retired with the Headquarter and Headquarters Company, 398th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion on Dec. 29, 2011.
After twenty years of service, Norman has experienced setbacks and challenges as well as accomplishments and victories.
"As a leader bringing all of your guys back with you with no major permanent disfigurement or injuries was my most significant achievement," Norman said.
The Purple Heart is meaningful to Norman because it is earned through experience rather than subjective opinion over your personal performance or achievements.
Making the moment a memorable and special occasion for Norman were the family members that were able to witness him receiving an award for the very first time. Family members included wife Linda Norman, mother Louisa Cowles, father John Norman and step-mother Leila Norman. Many of Norman's friends, comrades and co-workers from the Directorate of Supply and Transportation also attended the ceremony.
According to Via, the Purple Heart is the oldest award established that is still given to members of the U.S. military.
Norman's other awards include Iraq Campaign Medal w/four Campaign Stars, Army Commendation Medal with V Device, Army Commendation Medal (5th Award), Army Achievement Medal (7th Award), USA/USAF Pres Unit Citation Award, Valorous Unit Award, Army Superior Unit Award, Army Good Conduct Medal (3rd Award), Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal (2nd Award), National Defense Service Medal (2nd Award), Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (2nd Award), Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Armed Forces s Service Medal, Non Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon (2nd Award), Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon (4th Award), Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, NATO Medal, Combat Action Badge, Driver and Mechanic Badge-for Wheeled Vehicles as well as Driver and Mechanic Badge-Mechanic.