JOLON — Col. Kerry E. Norman has taken charge of the largest Army Reserve installation and the seventh largest post in the nation, becoming Fort Hunter Liggett’s newest garrison commander at a Change of Command ceremony conducted last Friday.
Norman, who hails from Kirkwood, Mo., was sworn in July 14 at the Fort Hunter Liggett track and field facility, where more than 100 people, including military leaders, state and city officials and community members, attended the installation.
“I’m excited to be here with you as we start this new journey,” Norman said. “I want you to know that this journey is not about me. This journey is about all of us — Hunter Liggett and Parks — as a team. … You all play a key vital role in the readiness of our country’s warriors and the overall safety of our nation.”
Norman was raised in Marin County, Calif., and graduated with honors from Oklahoma City University with a Bachelor of Science degree in technical management. She has completed three separate graduate degrees.
Norman enlisted in the Army in 1986 and received a direct commission as a second lieutenant in 1992 while serving at the Sixth U.S. Army Presidio of San Francisco. She has served overseas in five of the seven continents, with key assignments in Honduras, El Salvador and Washington, D.C.
Before moving to Fort Hunter Liggett, her previous assignment was director of strategic initiatives, 104th Division, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
“I’m incredibly excited to work with all of our directors, staff and employees here at Hunter Liggett and Parks,” Norman said. “You have been, and I know will continue to be, a success story. I am here to help us get to the next level and to assist and serve you.”
Norman is a lifetime member of the Association of the U.S. Army, the Reserve Officers Association, the Military Police Regimental Association, the General Douglas MacArthur Leadership Foundation and the Women’s Army Corps Veterans Association.
Her military awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with seven Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Commendation Medal with five Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Achievement Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Star, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal with Bronze Star, Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, the Order of Saint Barbara, Order of the Marechaussee (Bronze) and the General Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award.
She also has earned the Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Meritorious Unit Commendation and Army Superior Unit Award.
Norman takes over the post of outgoing commander, Col. Jan C. Norris, whose next assignment is with the 311th Signal Command (Theater) in Fort Shafter, Hawaii, as the deputy commanding officer. Norris, originally from Richmond, Va., had assumed the commander duties since July 2015.
Addressing Norris at the ceremony, Norman said, “Thank you for all you and team Liggett and Parks have done — the directors, the staff, the employees — for all the hard work and accomplishments that you have achieved while in command. They’re too numerous to mention. I’ll work hard to continue to build on those accomplishments with these great folks.”
Norris gave special thanks to Fort Hunter’s community partners, including the City of King and Mayor Mike LeBarre, who attended Friday’s ceremony.
“Of all the cities — and there aren’t too many cities nearby — King City is that city for us. Most of my community engagement came with you, Mike, and (former mayor and current councilor) Rob Cullen before you,” Norris said. “Thanks for your engagement with us. Our employees live and work in your city, so it’s really important.”
Norris will be moving to Hawaii with his wife of 23 years, Jin-Young Lee, and their three daughters.
“Parting is such a sweet sorrow,” he said. “Sweet in that my family and I are heading off to Hawaii. We’re getting back together and going back to a place we’ve been before. But, the sorrows, the goodbyes of course, are leaving this wonderful place and all the wonderful people.”
Fort Hunter Liggett — located about 25 miles southwest of King City near the town of Jolon — is home to the 91st Training Division, the 102nd Training Division, the 63rd Regional Support Command Equipment Concentration Site-170, the 3-356th Logistics Support Battalion and the 31st Naval Construction Regiment Seabees. About 400 military members and civilians currently work at the post, many of whom commute from either King City or Paso Robles.
“We have a great team here to support you,” Norris said to the new commander. “It’s going to be a lot of fun. … Enjoy every day you have here in this gem of an installation.”