AUSTIN, Texas (Jan. 12, 2019) – Maj. Gen. Tracy R. Norris took command of the Texas Military Department during a change of command ceremony, on January 12, 2019 at Camp Mabry. In December 2018, Gov. Greg Abbott appointed Maj. Gen. Norris as the new Adjutant General of Texas, effective January 1, 2019, after Maj. Gen. John F. Nichols announced his retirement in late November. Maj. Gen. Norris is the first female Adjutant General in Texas history.
“Maj. Gen. Tracy Norris has a distinguished career, and I am honored to appoint her Adjutant General of Texas,” said Gov. Abbott. “General Norris exemplifies the values of service and sacrifice, and her record is nothing short of impeccable. Under her leadership, the Texas Military Department will continue its strong legacy of service to the Lone Star State.”
Maj. Gen. Norris received an Army ROTC scholarship and began her military career in 1986 after graduating from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science in Anthropology. She went on to receive her Master of Science in Urban and Regional Planning, a Master of Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Texas at Austin.
Norris previously served as Deputy Adjutant General – Army and Commander of the Texas Army National Guard. Before that, she was the Assistant Deputy Adjutant General. Norris also served as the Commander of the 176th Engineer Brigade from July 2012 to April 2015. Prior to these positions, she was assigned as the Chief Facilities and Maintenance, Chief of Staff, 36th Infantry Division and deployed to Iraq in 2010, in support of Operation New Dawn, where the 36th Infantry Division commanded and controlled the nine southern provinces of Iraq.
As the Adjutant General of Texas, Maj. Gen. Norris will lead more than 24,000 Texas Military Department service members and supporting staff. The Texas Military Department is comprised of the Office of the Executive Director, the Texas Army National Guard, the Texas Air National Guard and the Texas State Guard. Its mission is to provide the governor and the president with ready forces in support of state and federal authorities at home and abroad.
“I am honored by Gov. Abbott’s appointment and thank him for trusting me to lead the Texas Military Department. Maj. Gen. Nichols has done great succession planning, and I look forward to building on his superb leadership keeping Texas Guardsmen ready and resilient in our ever-changing profession and ensuring they are prepared to face any challenge at home or abroad,” said Norris. “At the Texas Military Department, we are Texans serving Texas. I am proud to lead the more than 24,000 men and women who work tirelessly to keep our state and our nation safe.”
During his seven years as the Adjutant General of Texas, Maj. Gen. Nichols oversaw numerous large-scale natural disaster missions including fires and floods throughout Texas and the response to the widespread devastation of Hurricane Harvey, which resulted in the complete mobilization of the Texas National Guard. His retirement will culminate a lifetime of military service, having first commissioned with the U.S. Air Force in 1979. Maj. Gen. Nichols’ illustrious career has taken him all over the world, resulting in many awards and decorations for service to our nation.
“It has been my honor to serve as the Adjutant General for the past seven years. The Texas Military Department is an exceptional organization with amazing Citizen-Airmen and Soldiers and civilians who put the needs of the state and nation above their own,” said Nichols. “All of our achievements as a state agency and military department are a direct reflection of the dedication and commitment to excellence of individuals and teams throughout the organization.”
The change of command ceremony is a military tradition that represents a formal transfer of authority and responsibility from one commanding officer to another. Many distinguished guests were in attendance, including both civilian and military officials. Texas Secretary of State David Whitley participated in the ceremonial passing of the colors.