Brig. Gen. Norton A. Schwartz
Brigadier General Norton A. Schwartz, Class of 1969, is a most worthy inductee into the Toms River Schools Hall of Fame. His impressive array of accomplishments as an officer in the United States Air Force show him to be an outstanding example of someone who establishes goals, meets those goals, and then reaches for the next, more difficult challenge. The 1969 edition of the CEDAR CHEST states that he "loves a challenge, athletics, and hard work." This will become obvious. At a time when many of his peers were actively questioning, and even rebelling against established authority, Cadet Schwartz was distinguishing himself as a member of the Cadet Wing of the United States Air Force Academy, graduating with a Bachelors degree in political science and international affairs in 1973. This background served as a springboard to his multifaceted career.
Following pilot training in various types of aircraft, he served at the strategically important Clark Air Base in the Philippines as an aircraft commander. After his promotion to Captain in 1977, he was named flight examiner at Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas. While stationed at Hurlburt Field in Florida, he was promoted to Major. As he "Ieap-frogged" across the United States, he earned his Masters Degree in Business Administration from Central Michigan University.
The year 1984 saw Major Schwartz attending the Armed Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia. Later, during his tenure as action officer, directorate of plans, at the Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., Lieutenant Colonel Schwartz continued to impress. Following a two year tour of duty as commander of the 36th Tactical Airlift Squadron at McChord Air Force Base in Washington, he was chosen to study at the National War College, a distinction awarded to only the few, brightest and most capable officers.
Completing this course of study, he was assigned as director of plans and policy of Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR) in Stuttgart - Vaihingen, Germany. It was in this capacity that Lieutenant Colonel Schwartz proved to be most valuable both to the Air Force and to his country. He continued these demanding responsibilities when he returned to the United States as commander of the 1st Special Operations Group, operating from Hurlburt Field in Florida. In May, 1993, he was transferred to Headquarters, United States Air Force, Washington, D.C. as deputy director of forces, he earned a fellowship from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1994 by participating in Seminar XXI.
Today, Brigadier General Norton A. Schwartz is serving as commander of the 16th Special Operations Wing. He is now in command of over 6,500 people, responsible for an operating budget exceeding $150,000,000. His forces serve as the "wings and wheels" for all of America's vital special forces. he oversees a cooperative service effort that prepares and provides support for Air Force, Army, Navy, and Allied Special Forces' activities around the world. The intense training and discipline developed under his leadership provides the support needed to infiltrate, supply, and most importantly, return back home those involved in intelligence gathering, counterterrorism, personnel recovery, and assistance to developing nations.
General Schwartz considers these responsibilities to simply be ''the job I am assigned to do." He does considerably more. What is not so obvious is his basic sense of humanity. When asked about his most significant challenge, the true nature of this "officer and gentleman" came through. He is most concerned for the "physical, emotional, and spiritual well being of those in my command." He keeps striving to keep "my people focused, motivated, and ready to defend our country as best we can." Brigadier General Schwartz has received numerous military awards and decorations, including the Meritorious Service Medal with 2 oak leaf clusters, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, and the Legion of Merit. He stated that much of his success is due to his "being in the right place at the right time, plus the fact that I have been lucky all of my life." While these may indeed be true, there can be no question that the talents and character of the man have played an even greater role in his list of accomplishments.
The Toms River Schools Hall of Fame takes great pleasure in honoring Brigadier General Norton A. Schwartz for being far more than, as he describes himself, "a decent public servant." We salute his tireless devotion to duty, his respect for honor, and his many outstanding contributions to his own country and to people in search of freedom around the world.
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