LaFayette Middle School’s Veteran’s Day program on Monday, Nov.11, welcomed retired two-star Air Force Gen. Jon Norman.
Ben Torbett, a sixth-grade social studies teacher and former USAF jet engine mechanic, served under Gen. Norman. Torbett contacted the general over Facebook and asked him to come speak at the school for Veterans Day.
Torbett, who spent 11 years in service, said Norman was a natural leader and one of the most team-oriented and selfless commanders he had ever served under.
“I started out with nothing,” Norman said. “The thing about the military is that everyone gets a chance.”
As a child, Norman visited a nearby military base event and met a pilot who had such an impact on him that he knew, from that moment on, he wanted to be a fighter pilot.
Joining the Air Force Academy at 17, Norman said he made incredible friends in the military that he’s still friends with today.
Norman flew F-16s his whole career. He served in Italy, Germany, and Iraq. During his service he met several U.S. presidents. He even had a 15-minute chat with the Queen of England.
The military also gave him the opportunity to visit Romania in 2003, where several members of the older generation came out to thank him and the other military personnel who accompanied him, remembering what America did for them in World War II and still appreciating it today.
When students were given the opportunity to ask the retired general questions, many asked him for various details about his service with the military, including times when he had been afraid, what it felt like to be a pilot and if he’d ever been to Area 51.
“My favorite thing about the military was the people I got to meet,” Norman said.