Enshrined November 12, 2011
Norm Gaddis was born in Jefferson County, TN in 1923. He entered the Army Air Corps in 1942, was commissioned in 1944. He flew the P-40 Warhawk and P-51 Mustang in WWII. He was released from service in 1945, then recalled in 1949. Gaddis served three-years with the 86th Fighter Wing in Neubiberg, Germany flying the P-47 Thunderbolt and the F-84 Thunderjet. In 1952, he was transferred to the 31stFighter Wing at Turner AFB flying F-84 Thunderjets. It was during this time he flew the first ever fighter jet crossing of the Pacific Ocean. In 1954, he was assigned to the 81st Fighter Wing, RAF in Bentwaters, England, and subsequently reassigned to U.S.A.FE. Headquarters in Wiesbaden, Germany in 1955. In 1957, Captain Gaddis was assigned to the 450th fighter Wing at Foster AFB, Texas. A year later, he became a flight instructor in the F-100 Super Sabre at the USAF Fighter Weapons School at Nellis AFB, Nevada. Major Gaddis entered the Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell AFB in 1960 and in 1961 became a staff officer in the Tactical Division, headquarters USAF. In 1965 as a Lt. Col. He attended the National War College followed by F-4 Phantom combat crew training in 1966. In 1966, Colonel Gaddis was assigned to the 12thTactical Fighter Wing at Cam Ranh Bay Air Base in Vietnam. During his 73rd combat mission on May 12, 1967, he was forced to bail out of his aircraft near Hanoi, was captured and became a prisoner of war in North Vietnam for 2,124 days. He was released on March 4, 1973. After a 90-day convalescence, Gaddis resumed service with the 82nd Flying Training Wing at Williams AFB in Arizona and became its Commander in 1974. Later that year, Brigadier General Gaddis served as Deputy Director for Operational Forces in Washington, D.C. Norm Gaddis’ military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster and “V” device, the Air Medal with Five Oak Leaf Clusters, the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Ribbon. A Command Pilot, he has logged over 4,300 flying hours. He retired after 30 years of active military service in June 1976.
To learn more, visit: www.tnairmuseum.com