Awb Norris, the C.O. of 2/22Inf.(M)....'67 - '68

Beloved "Colonel" of the 22nd Infantry Regt. passed recently. He is missed. RIP - "AWB"
The picture, he informs me..was taken in 1946. As an interesting side,
some of his other buddies have remarked how young he was in Vietnam
He was the best and most popular, because he cared about the troops. Many did not.

Apologies for the pic. I cleaned it up as much as I could with my graphics program, and straightened it, but it was slanted and clipped in the article.
The one above is Awb with his Platoon, a part of Chargin Charlie Company of the ROTC Battalion at the College
The above picture is Awb and his lovely wife, Joanne

Below is a reproduction of an aricle I found while doing research on Awb to post his story, an important one when posting stories of our Brothers in Arms of the 2nd Bn. 22nd Inf. (M) in Vietnam. As Direct Support Bn., we tagged along with them, and the 3d Bn. on their operations, to be close enough to be their "Long gun" in time of need. We also ended up fighting along side them at the perimeters of several attempts to over-run various firebases and night laagers during the war.

The article has been edited and sections referring to the re-accreditation process the College was in the process of undergoing at the time written are not germain to the mission of telling his story, and thus have been edited out. While I have never YET enjoyed the honor of meeting Awb in person and shaking his hand....which I hope to do someday....I DO know him, through conversations with him and some of his officers, and men who served with him during the hell that was Vietnam....and am firmly convinced that men of such outstanding character are prone to telling the truth about him and others, and they ALL loved him, and would have attacked the gates of hell if he ordered it and led it. 'Nuff said. Enjoy!
Awbrey G. Norris left a lasting impression on the North Georgia campus. You could even say he left a dent.

Norris, known as “Awb,” had really wanted to join the Army to take advantage of the G.I. Bill to pay for his higher education. But his mother, a schoolteacher, wouldn't hear of it, even though money was tight and he would have to work his way through school. His father was a newspaper distributor. Mainly because several of his classmates from West Point, Ga., had applied to North Georgia College in Dahlonega, the 16-year old determined that also was the place for him, turning down offers from larger universities to join his friends at the small college. During the Depression in 1933, NGC had been reduced to a two-year institution. But in 1946, the year Norris and his friends enrolled, North Georgia again became a senior college.
“It was a military school with uniforms and a good reputation,” recalls Norris. “I felt it was a good match for me.”
Before the end of his first quarter, Norris was selected as C Company's guidon bearer.
“I obtained a job in the college mess hall to dispense food in the chow line,” he explains. “It got me through and got me food.”
Desmond Booth, who taught English at the college, lived near Norris in Barnes Hall. In fact, professors lived in each of the student residence halls during those years. Every time Booth caught Norris doing something wrong – keeping an untidy room or cooking in it, leaving lights on after hours, wearing dirty boots – he would assign demerits to the freshman. Upperclassmen also issued demerits for younger cadets who were late or absent from class, and for improper conduct during the battalion drill, among other infractions. Somehow, Norris accumulated “an unusually high number of demerits.”
“Normally, marching around the one-mile track surrounding the drill field could redeem one demerit,” explains Norris. “Your M-1 was at .right-shoulder arms' and you had no break at all during the one-hour march.”
Commandant Paul M. Hutcherson summoned Norris to his office to discuss the accumulation of demerits.
“The commandant came to the inevitable conclusion that if I never received another demerit in my future at NGC, it would be approximately three years before I could redeem my demerits by marching around the drill field,” Norris wrote in his memoirs. Outside the Band Barracks, Norris recalls, “there was a five-foot diameter oak tree that had to be cut down as a result of age and disease.”
He described what remained as “a tremendous stump.”
The commandant decided to give Norris credit for two demerits for each hour he spent extricating the stump and its roots from the area.
“He had the supply sergeant issue me an axe, two handsaws, a sledgehammer, a wedge, a pick, and a shovel. I had to sign for this equipment and take it back to my room each evening. I worked from 2 until 6 p.m. each weekday. When I finished, I had to clean and oil each of my environmental instruments' before taking the tools to my room. My senior class supervisors took great pleasure in finding any type of dirt or debris on my equipment.”
During the winter and spring of 1947, Norris worked 20 hours weekly on the stump, then practiced basketball from 7 to 8:45 p.m., leaving him 15 minutes to shower, prepare for the next day's classes, shine boots, polish brass, and otherwise ready his uniform for the following day. Lights were turned out at 9 p.m.
“I was amazed at how proficient I became at shining my boots and shoes with the lights out and still remain in my bunk to prevent additional demerits,” Norris says. “My class standing did not ascend during that period and I still hit the mess-hall chow line as a server at 6 a.m. each weekday.” Norris writes: “I hit, dug, hacked, sawed, said some bad words, and beat that stump and allied roots for almost six months. How I ever survived the tree action, my classes, basketball and the mess-hall serving line for that period of time, I'll never know. But I did, and I think I became a better person as a result of the experience.”
At the end of the spring quarter, the commandant again called Norris to his office and asked that he turn in his digging equipment, then saluted him and gave him amnesty from his remaining 26 demerits, thanking the young cadet for his months of hard work. When Norris returned to NGC in the fall of 1947, he was promoted to cadet platoon sergeant and earned no more demerits. Playing right end, Norris stayed long enough to win the intramural football championship with C Company, an undefeated team that year. Then, because of finances and an easier commuting distance from his home, he transferred to Alabama Polytechnic Institute, now known as Auburn University, in January 1948. Today, Awb Norris lives in Winter Springs, Fla., with his charming, energetic and supportive wife Joanne, whom he married in 1951 at the beginning of his long military career.
After 27 years, nine months and 14 days of service (he is a stickler for facts), Norris retired as a U.S. Army infantry colonel on Feb. 1, 1978.

In October 2000, he was named honorary colonel of the 22nd Infantry Regiment, with a renewed three-year appointment to that title this year.

But Norris is by no means “retired.” He keeps active with his own consulting firm, working with small business systems and computerization, financial analysis and accounting programs, and other computer-related training and support. Among other positions he's held, Norris was the assistant general manager for Business Relations in 1983-85 for the Memphis Showboats of the United States Football League. A member of the Orlando chapter of the 82nd Airborne Association, as well as a national member of that organization and the Association of the U.S. Army, Norris' list of memberships and civic involvement is extensive. He also has an impressive array of published articles. He volunteers with retired and senior citizens, teaching classes at SeniorNet in Orlando, Fla., training students age 55 and older how to locate information on the Internet for genealogy records and general research. Norris also compiles short written anecdotes about his life and times, “Humor, History, and Heritage,” and has chronicled almost 300 stories to date in the collection. Throughout his outstanding Army career and during his years since, Norris served his country and his fellow citizens. He's continuing to make a difference for others in his active life. And he certainly had an impact on North Georgia's landscape.
By Annette Hannon Lee

Alumni office collecting

military coins & class rings

After interviewing retired Col. Awb Norris about his stump-digging months at North Georgia, this writer was intrigued by his suggestion that the university initiate a collection of military coins from those alumni who have served in units of the U.S. armed forces around the world.
“The military coin readily identifies unit members, past and present,” explained Norris. “The coin carries mottos or slogans of the particular unit, in addition to any official likeness of the unit crest or insignia. Military coins also come in many ‘flavors,’ including challenge, excellence, posts, and unit identification.”
Mark Howarth, NGCSU director of Alumni Affairs, liked Norris’ suggestion. The Office of Alumni Affairs, which already has a display case for North Georgia class rings and pins contributed by alumni, will now accept military coins from alumni for a special display recognizing the units in which they served. Class rings also are still being collected. Contributors of coins should identify their unit, years of service, and years at North Georgia, whether or not they completed their academic degrees from NGCSU, and include current contact information, in case there are questions. Howarth asks that veterans of the armed forces contribute no more than one distinct coin, representing that military unit with which they most identify, along with a brief history of the unit if available.
-- By Annette Hannon Lee