During his Blair days, Tom was active in the Annual Shows through his work on the Stage Crew, and was also an outstanding member of the Wrestling Team. After graduating from Blair, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology with a specialty in criminology from the University of Maryland. While at the University of Maryland, in 1965 and 1966, he was an Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) wrestling champion.
He joined the Navy with hopes of flying; however, he had problems with his visual acuity and depth perception that disqualified him from becoming a pilot. He then became a Navy SEAL, seeing active duty in Viet Nam. In April 1972, he and his team effected the rescue of two downed pilots in enemy territory. For this action, Tom was awarded the highest symbol of bravery the United States confers, the Medal of Honor. Tom received the Medal of Honor from President Gerald R. Ford in a White House ceremony on March 6, 1976.
In 1979, Norris joined the FBI, where he was an original member of the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team as an assault team leader.
Tom’s Medal of Honor citation reads, in part, “for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty, and by his outstanding display of decisive leadership, undaunted courage, and selfless dedication in the face of extreme danger, Lieutenant Norris enhanced the finest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”