USO honors outstanding service members at annual awards ceremony
by Scott Sutherland, Armed Forces Dispatch
Seaman John Norman III of Naval Air Station North Island was recently named United Service Organization’s Sailor of the Year during USO’s Service Member of the Year awards ceremony Dec. 3 in Washington, D.C.
Norman was recognized for patriotism, bravery and achievements while serving in the Navy. The other services - Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and National Guard - also had exceptional E-5 or below USO award winners. Senior military leadership and members of Congress gathered to honor the junior enlisted service members.
Norman and the other honorees were selected by the senior enlisted advisor of their branch for representing the standards and values of the Armed Forces through a specific act of heroism or valor within the past calendar year. The USO hosted all six honorees for a visit to Washington, where they had tours of significant landmarks, such as the White House, the Pentagon and Arlington National Cemetery.
Life saving heroism
Driving home with his spouse while off-duty, Norman noticed a man assaulting a woman. He immediately intervened by calling 911, getting out of his car and approaching the offender, who proceeded to throw bricks at him. When the offender’s attacks on the woman didn’t stop, Norman ultimately tackled the offender and restrained him until law enforcement officers arrived. Norman’s brave actions saved the woman’s life.
A native of Texas, Norman “strives to be involved throughout the community both at home and while deployed, volunteering with many local organizations,” according to the USO.
Other honorees: Army Sgt. Ty Able, Hunter Army Airfield, Ga.; Air Force Staff Sgt. Adam Wasson, Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C.; Marine Corps Sgt. Phoebe Ortiz, Mountain Warfare Training Center, Calif.; National Guard Staff Sgt. Jami DeVries, Colorado ANG; and Coast Guard Aviation Survival Technician Nathan Newberg, USO Coast Guardsman of the Year, Coast Guard Air Station, Savannah, Ga.
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