TAMPA, Fla. –
For some, service in the Army is a family business. Family members serving simultaneously is not rare, although it’s less common for siblings to be part of the same organization and share a similar mission. However, that commonality is present within the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) where two brothers, Lt. Col. Michael Norton and Maj. Nick Norton, have served alongside each other since August 2021. Michael Norton commands the Tampa Recruiting Battalion and his younger brother Nick Norton is the Executive Officer of the United States Army Parachute Team, the Golden Knights.
According to the Pentagon, approximately 80 percent of service members have at least one family member that served in the Armed Forces, and more than 25 percent of those have a parent who served as well.
For the Norton brothers, both of whom attended Tom C. Clark High School in San Antonio, Texas, and graduated from Sam Houston State University, serving in the Army is a family affair. “As the son of a retired Army officer, my brother and I chose service as a way to carry on his legacy. My Dad commissioned me and I then commissioned my brother,” said Michael Norton.
Serving as a battalion commander is an honor and a privilege for any Army officer. While commanding outside of one’s basic branch certainly presents its own challenges, Michael Norton, who is a career Military Intelligence officer, has fully embraced the opportunity to command one of the largest recruiting battalions in the U.S. Army Recruiting Command (a subordinate Command within TRADOC).
“I signed a contract with our Army in 1998 and commissioned in 2002. Change is something we all endure and our Army is no different. I’ve learned, I’ve grown, and have been fortunate enough to do it all while maintaining a smile on my face. I’ve been blessed to have my wife along for the entire journey,” continued Michael Norton.
As the premier parachute team for the Army, The Golden Knights travel around the country supporting fellow Army Commands and performing in front of thousands of spectators each year. For Nick Norton, being in the air is nothing new for him. A career Aviation officer, he is qualified in both rotary and fixed wing aircraft. However, this is his first assignment in the Army where he’s required to wear a parachute for his day-to-day duties.
“The military has always been a great influence in my life. Service to this nation traces back many generations in our family. In my immediate family, my father served with distinction for 20 years and my brother currently serves. I joined the Army to follow in their footsteps and continue a legacy of contributing to something bigger than myself leading others in securing our nation,” said Nick Norton.
Recently, the Norton brothers were presented with the rare opportunity to complete a tandem jump together when the Golden Knights traveled to Zephyrhills, Florida to assist the Tampa Recruiting Battalion with their Center of Influence (COI) event on Nov. 2, 2021.
“First, the Golden Knights are the most professional, capable jump team in the world,” said Michael Norton. “The opportunity to jump was amazing and to be able to do it with my brother made it that much more special.”
Educating the public about the career opportunities in the Army is essential to recruiting and a successful recruiting mission is the foundation of the Army's ability to sustain its overall force.
“The unique opportunities in today’s military far exceeds what corporate America can offer. You will build camaraderie while serving with others from every corner of the globe and walk of life. You will gain self-worth and accomplishment while being challenged to explore your deepest sense of character. Education and self-development are requirements. You will receive training to succeed in life’s most challenging of situations. Equally as important, the Army promotes family growth and prosperity,” said Nick Norton.
Today, the Army is comprised of more than 1,000,000 Soldiers serving in the Active Army, National Guard, and Army Reserve. The Army’s diverse force, with each Soldier having his or her own unique background and area of expertise, is what sets it apart from other military branches. Due to the need for quality Soldiers, for the first time ever, Regular Army applicants can now receive a maximum of up to $50,000 for a six-year term of service, which is a combination of authorized associated bonuses. This means a Soldier’s bonuses can add up to $50,000 based on the career field they select, the length of enlistment, when they ship to basic training, and other options they select, such as Airborne or Ranger schools.
Contact your local Army Recruiting Station to join our Army team!