FORT HOOD — The 1st Cavalry Division bid farewell to the division’s top enlisted soldier, Command Sgt. Maj. James P. Norman III, at Cooper Field on Thursday.
In conjunction with the 92nd birthday of the division today, the ceremony honored volunteers and retirees and highlighted the division’s success as a whole under Norman.
“Change is a part of life in the Army,” Norman said. “Change is always a constant … and it is always for the good. Change is what keeps our Army, division and team strong.”
Transition must be accepted with a sense of humor, he said, even if it is coupled with sadness.
Norman heads to Joint Base Lewis-McChord Wash., where he will serve as the I Corps command sergeant major.
Norman is no stranger to change, having been stationed at 10 stateside and overseas assignments in his career. He served at Fort Hood on two separate occasions.
Norman was an integral part of the division’s success for more than a decade, 1st Cavalry Division commander Maj. Gen. Anthony Ierardi said. “Norman is a soldier’s soldier. He leads by example. I can think of no finer soldier in our ranks to continue to serve at even greater levels of responsibility in our Army.”
In previous assignments, Norman served the division as a battalion command sergeant major in 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, and a brigade command sergeant major and with the 1st Brigade. Norman cited the constant of change as the reasoning why leaders’ names are not permanently affixed to the front of their organization. “It’s not about us, it’s about the unit we’re in,” Norman said.
Among numerous accolades, Ierardi praised Norman’s accessibility, character and humbleness as qualities that enabled him to “live the legend and shape cavalry soldiers.” Norman’s contributions to Fort Hood will endure through the leaders and soldiers he developed, Ierardi said.
As he prepared to leave the division he dubbed “the greatest to ever take the field,” Norman left the audience with a quote from a John Wayne western, “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon.”
“Goodbye is something we never say in the cavalry. Instead, until our next post.”
No replacement for Norman has been announced.