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1st Sgt Ernest NorrisPhotos
Unfortunately Sgt Norris passed away on October 6, 2004 but this is an extract from his obituary.
Ernest "Buel" Norris
Mr. Norris died Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2004, at Tut-Fann Veterans Home. He was born June 26, 1913, in Cullman to Walter and Minnie Barnett Norris. Mr. Norris was a faithful member and long-time deacon of Center Grove Baptist Church. He served two terms in the United States Army, having re-enlisted when he thought his services would be needed. As a member of the Ninth Air Force Aviation Engineer Battalion [819th EAB], 1st Sgt. Norris, along with others in his unit, was awarded the Presidential Distinguished Unit Citation for constructing an emergency landing strip while under fire on the Normandy Beachhead. The unit proceeded on their mission in spite of the obstacles and dangers and worked on the strip while under continuous enemy fire, at one point working within 200 yards of active enemy artillery emplacements. The strip was completed by sundown on D-Day and the detachment pushed forward behind the advancing invading troops and began work on a field farther inland. After D-Day, 1st Sgt. Norris' battalion worked with other units for the 9th Engineer Command in constructing more than 100 airdromes for the air campaign in France. During his two terms of service he served his country in several locations in Europe and the United States. Following his military service, Mr. Norris worked for U.S. Pipe, from which he retired after 30 years. He was an electrician in the building industry.The Cullman Times