Fred Norman was born on September 2, 1935, in Albany, Georgia, and enlisted in the Army in 1955. He completed Basic Training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and following Advanced Individual Training at Fort Knox, Kentucky, served as a mechanic in Germany. Following a break in service from 1957 to 1960, when he served in the Reserves, he reenlisted in the Active Army and was assigned as a wheeled vehicle mechanic and motor sergeant in engineer, missile, and field artillery units in the United States, Germany, and Vietnam.
In 1969, Norman was appointed a warrant officer and assigned to Fort Baker, California, as Maintenance Technician with the 2/51st Air Defense Battalion (Nike Hercules). From 1970 to 1971, he served in Vietnam as Senior Team Chief of the II Field Forces Artillery Maintenance Evaluation Team which trained and advised units in maintenance procedures. Much to his credit, his preventive maintenance classes on the M109 and M110 self-propelled howitzers substantially improved the units' readiness rates.
From 1971 to 1974, Norman served as Maintenance Technician for the 525th Special Weapons Company in Germany. The sensitive nature of this unit's mission demanded the highest standards of equipment readiness, and Norman successfully guided the unit through a series of battalion through Army-level Operational Readiness Evaluations.
In 1974, he was reassigned to the 327th Signal Battalion, 35th Signal Brigade, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. As Battalion Maintenance Officer, he instituted a maintenance services program that kept equipment operational readiness rates above 90 percent. In 1978, Norman relocated to Hanau, Germany, and was assigned as Senior Ordnance Maintenance Warrant Officer in the 13th Engineer Brigade, where he organized a maintenance readiness team to improve unit readiness in the brigade's four combat engineer battalions and several separate companies.
Norman returned to Fort Bragg in 1981 to serve as Battalion Maintenance Officer in the 1/6th Field Artillery. Challenged with a failing maintenance program, he established a drivers' training program, instituted a mechanics' training program, and raised the battalion's operational readiness rate above 90 percent. From 1982 to 1986, he served as the Maintenance Warrant Officer Assignment Officer at the US Army Military Personnel Center, where he managed the worldwide assignments of Ordnance warrant officers.
In 1986, Norman became the Chief of the Maine In 1986, Norman became the Chief of the Maintenance Management Division, US Army Engineer School, Fort Belvoir, Virginia. In this assignment, he was responsible for the maintenance instruction in five courses and a student load of more than 6,000 officers and Soldiers. From 1989 to 1992, he served as Senior Maintenance Advisor to the Commanding General, 1st Corps Support Command (COSCOM), Fort Bragg, and deployed with the COSCOM for Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in support of the XVIII Airborne Corps.
Following an assignment in Korea as Maintenance Control Officer for the 61st Maintenance Company, Norman culminated his career as Senior Maintenance Advisor to the Commanding General, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, where he established a mentoring program for all warrant officers within the division. Chief Warrant Officer Five Norman retired in 1997 after 40 years of distinguished service to the US Army and the Ordnance Corps.