Norman Wallace Anderson III – Lance Corporal, United States Marine Corps Maryland State Flag

NEWS RELEASE from the United States Department of Defense

No. 1072-05
October 20, 2005

DoD Identifies Marine Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Lance Corporal Norman W. Anderson III, 21, of Parkton, Maryland, died October 19, 2005, from a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device while conducting combat operations against enemy forces in Karabilah, Iraq.  He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

October 27, 2005:
The widow of Lance Corporal Norman W. Anderson III told about 400 mourners at his funeral service last night that she was not bitter about how he died in Iraq — less than three months after their wedding.

“His job being a Marine had a part of his heart I would never have,” Tori Anderson said, standing beside her husband’s flag-draped casket. They had many talks, she said, and he would often tell her, “They need me more over there than you need me over here.”

Corporal Anderson, 21, of Parkton, Maryland, was killed October 19, 2005, when a suicide car bomb detonated near him as he carried out a military mission in Karabilah. Assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division based at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, he had been in Iraq for about a month, according to the Department of Defense.

He is to be buried at 2 p.m. Tuesday at Arlington National Cemetery.

Last night’s service was held at a funeral home in northern Baltimore County, less than a mile from Hereford High School, where Corporal Anderson starred as a running back on the football team. The school is retiring his No. 33 jersey and has started a scholarship fund in his name.

The son of a retired Army Ranger, Corporal Anderson had wanted to serve in the military since early childhood, his family said last night.

“This was what Norman wanted to do,” his mother, Robyn Anderson, told the gathering.

She described her son as a devoted Marine who would have been both “mortified and honored” by last night’s service.

So many people showed up at the Henry W. Jenkins & Sons funeral home that some mourners stood in side rooms and the lobby, listening to the service through speakers.

The crowd in the lobby included a woman holding a wallet-size photo of Corporal Anderson, and a man with reddened eyes standing quietly in military dress blues with a white hat in his hand.

Robyn Anderson said she received a call Sunday from a woman whose grandson died while serving with the Marines in Afghanistan.

“The sacrifice of a Marine is the highest human action,” she said, quoting from a letter she received from neighbors. She also quoted from a card she wrote to her son: “I remember your first steps and your bright eyes were fixed on me.”

Corporal Anderson graduated from Hereford in 2002 and enlisted in the Marines that year.

He joined his division as a rifleman in June 2003, and was deployed to Afghanistan. When he returned in November, “You could really see a difference in him,” said his father, Norman Anderson Jr., adding that his son became much more concerned about his family’s well-being.

“As a father, you wonder, ‘What kind of father is he going to be?'” he said.

Pointing out that his son was in charge of some of his fellow Marines and recognized for leadership during ambushes in Afghanistan, he said, “He proved to me what kind of father he was.”

Corporal Anderson and his wife, the former Tori Worthing, had been high school sweethearts. They married in August near Hunt Valley and honeymooned in Baltimore.

“Norman is the reason I got up every morning,” she said, and added that she spoke to Anderson the day before he died.

“He told me he loved me and his family and that he was proud of me,” she said.

Final Journey

Norm Anderson funeral draws more than 150 from North County to Arlington, Virginia
10 November 2005
By Pat van den BeemtMotorcycle police officers escort the funeral cortege of Norman Anderson III, includding two buses carrying more than 150 family members and friends, south on Interstate 83 toward Arlington.Motorists along the 75-mile route from Hereford to Arlington, Virginia, watched solemnly from their stopped vehicles as the funeral procession for Lance Corporal Norman W. Anderson III passed by on the morning of November 1, 2005.

Highway entrance ramps were temporarily closed. Some cars already on the roadway pulled to the side. Others switched lanes to allow the motorcade to pass.

Two columns of motorcycles flashed red and blue lights as more than a dozen police officers cleared the way for a hearse, two buses and a long line of cars.

“I wonder if they think this is for some sort of dignitary,” Cyndi Hafele asked as she watched stopped traffic from inside the first bus.

Anderson, a 21-year-old Marine, was killed by a suicide bomber in Iraq October 19, 2005. The 2002 Hereford High School football player had married Tori Worthing of Monkton this summer, a few weeks before he was deployed to Iraq.

Before he shipped out, Anderson left specific instructions for his funeral arrangements if he didn’t make it home. He wanted to be cremated, and he wanted to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

On November 1, 2005, Anderson’s wishes were honored. He joined the 300,000 men and women who are buried at Arlington. His funeral was the 20th of 29 funerals that day.

More than 150 people in the buses and cars followed the hearse carrying Anderson’s remains to Arlington.

The sight of acres of white marble headstones in perfect lines silenced the low hum of conversation on the bus carrying the Anderson and Worthing families.

Since the police escort accelerated the trip, the group had about 90 minutes to wait near the Visitors’ Center before the funeral began. People talked in clusters or simply stood outside in the warm November sun.

There were relatives like Matthew Bauer who traveled from South Africa to say goodbye to his cousin. Like many in the Anderson family – including Norman Anderson’s father and grandfather – Bauer served in the military.

After graduating from Hereford High in 1998, Bauer joined the Marines. He was stationed in South Africa, met and married a South African woman and now lives there.

“As soon as we heard about Norm, we looked into the logistics of coming home,” he said. “There was no way I was not going to be here today.”

Others, like Reb Scavone of Freeland, didn’t know the Andersons or the Worthings. He said he wanted to attend the funeral to pay tribute to a brave man who gave the ultimate sacrifice for his country.

Michael Newmeyer, owner of Michael’s Pizza, was there to pay his respects, too. He knows Norman Anderson’s older sister, Brooke, who once worked at his pizza shop on York Road in Maryland Line.

Four Hereford High students, members of the For Our Troops Club, left school early to go to Arlington. Their club sends packages and letters to servicemen and women who have a Hereford High connection and are serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Tori Anderson had helped the club with a fundraiser earlier this year. She showed up at Hereford High the day after her husband’s death.

“She came to our club meeting and told us how much the soldiers appreciated what we were doing,” said president Courtney Sullins. “We couldn’t believe she came to school to talk to us. Everybody was crying, but she kept saying she wanted to be there, to tell us to keep sending things to the soldiers.”

Service and sacrifice

The wait was finally over at 1:45 p.m., when people boarded the buses and got in their cars for the slow drive to Anderson’s final resting place. As the crowd watched, two Marines carefully placed an engraved wooden box containing Anderson’s ashes on a small table next to his gravesite. They joined four other Marines in unfolding an American flag and holding it over the box during the service.

“The nation and the Corps will remember Lance Corporal Anderson for his service and sacrifice,” a Marine chaplain told the mourners.

The six Marines then ceremoniously folded the American flag. Master Sergeant Leonard Cloud presented it to Anderson’s widow. Captain Ed Caricato gave another to Anderson’s mother, Robyn.

Many in the crowd flinched when the first volley of shots was fired by seven Marines off in the distance. The men fired three times in precision for the 21-gun salute.

As feather-shaped leaves from a willow oak floated down on the mourners, a lone Marine played “Taps” on a bugle. He stood off to the side, away from the gravesite, so most people weren’t aware of his presence until the first notes of the heart-tugging tune filled the air.

After the 15-minute ceremony, people went back to the buses and cars to give Anderson’s parents, sister and widow a chance for a private farewell.

Tori Anderson knelt in front of the wooden box containing her husband’s ashes and gently touched it.

As she and Robyn Anderson slowly made their way to the buses, they clutched their American flags to their chests.

The bus containing the Anderson and Worthing families and friends was soundless as they left Arlington National Cemetery. Row after row of family members and friends stared out the windows, lost in thought.

Shared memories

But as the bus gathered speed and headed toward North County, the atmosphere lightened. It had been a long day. People were hungry and thirsty.

Coolers with soda, water, beer and wine appeared. Boxes of chips and peanuts were passed from seat to seat.

People started moving along the aisles. People started talking. People started laughing.

Tori Anderson told stories about her high school days with Norm, how teachers separated them if they were having a spat but let them sit next to each other if they were having a good day.

The two mothers, Bernadette Worthing and Robyn Anderson, sat next to each other and chatted.

Norm’s father, Norman Anderson II, moved to the back of the bus, where there was a rumor about an open bottle of Irish whiskey.

Just before the procession arrived back in Hereford, Bob Vogel, a longtime friend of the Andersons, got everybody’s attention.

“I raise my glass to Norm, a hero who always had a smile on his face,” he said. The others responded by raising their glasses, cans, bottles or empty hands into the air and called out, in unison, “To Norm.”

Sacrificing all

War in Iraq, Afghanistan has claimed ex-athletes
by Mike Klingaman
Courtesy of the Baltimore Sun
16 July 2007Some starred on their high school athletic teams. Some barely received any playing time. But each served his country and died in Iraq or Afghanistan.

A former swim team star was killed while defusing a roadside bomb; a one-time running back sacrificed himself so that his comrades might live. During one 14-month period in 2005-2006, at least six former athletes from Baltimore-area high schools — Marines, sailors and soldiers — died in the war. The eldest was 31 years old, the youngest 20.

To a man, they carried with them overseas the love of sport. And though they did not return, their schools, teammates and families will not forget their courage on and off the field.

Norman Anderson III was a stalwart running back, Josh Snyder a selfless receiver. Their framed jerseys hang ceremoniously on a wall in the Hereford High gym, but not for obvious reasons.

“No one will ever wear these numbers [33 and 26] again,” coach Steve Turnbaugh said of the first jerseys retired in Hereford history. “Maybe these two weren’t the best players ever, but they certainly proved their heroism in a far larger scheme than football.”

Nearly two years have passed since Anderson and Snyder, both Marines, died in the war in Iraq. Anderson was killed by a suicide car bomber, Snyder by a sniper six weeks later. Buddies, they enlisted together and are buried at Arlington National Cemetery, 75 graves apart.

Their granite-faced military photographs, draped in black, still grace the bulletin board in Hereford’s football office. Both men — Anderson was 21, Snyder a year younger– played for the school’s 2001 state champions.

Even overseas, neither forgot his roots.Anderson carried videotapes of Hereford’s magical season and showed them proudly to his comrades.

“Yeah, we all saw the tapes,” said Jed Maki, who served alongside Anderson in Iraq and Afghanistan. “We had to laugh at the scrawny little guy Norman was in high school. He had bulked up in size since then.”

Maki said that once, during a lull, Anderson’s unit challenged a group of Iraqi soldiers to a football game on base.

“We killed them,” Maki said. “Norman had a few touchdowns, a few interceptions. He was always willing to get his nose a little dirty.”

Half a world away, engulfed in war, Anderson managed to stay abreast of his high school team’s games.

“For a while, we mailed him The Sun,” said his mother, Robyn Anderson. “But in his final letter he wrote, ‘Just send me the sports section.’

“I guess he figured he was seeing enough of the headline stuff over there.”

Football and fatigues had always been Norman Anderson’s passions. At Hereford, if he didn’t have playbook in hand, it was a history text about World War II. Teammates applauded his relentless rushing style and dubbed him “Stormin’ Norman,” after General Norman Schwarzkopf, commander in the Gulf War in 1991.

Anderson relished the comparison.

“Finally, we just called him ‘Storm,’ ” Turnbaugh said.

Joining the Marines fueled Anderson’s competitive nature, Maki said.

“Sports tied in with our everyday life,” he said. “Marines wrestle to let off steam. Norman would wrestle anyone, anywhere — on grass or rocks, in rooms or rivers. Norman would come out bloody, but the other person was always bloodier.”

On Oct. 19, 2005 — the day he died — Anderson, a lance corporal, volunteered to take the point on a morning patrol near his unit’s base in the town of Sadah, near the Syrian border. From an alley, a maroon Chevrolet Caprice filled with explosives hurtled toward the Marines.

Anderson dashed toward the car — “You could tell he was a running back,” a Marine said later — and shot and killed the driver. But the vehicle was apparently rigged to detonate if the driver died.

The fireball killed Anderson and wounded four others. The explosion hurled the car’s engine block 50 yards and might have wiped out the 16-man patrol had not Anderson distanced himself from the other Marines.

“If Norm hadn’t done what he did, a lot more guys would have lost their lives,” said Sergeant James Ryan Thornton, his squad leader.

News of Anderson’s death rocked Hereford High, which held a memorial service two days later at a home football game. For the rest of that 2005 season, the players — few of whom knew Anderson personally — wore decals with the initials “NA” on their helmets.

“Once a Hereford Bull, always a Hereford Bull,” Turnbaugh said.

The next month, Anderson’s high school teammate was slain. Corporal Josh Snyder was shot in the aftermath of a skirmish in Fallujah, Iraq. Marines killed the assassin.

Two months earlier, while home on leave, Snyder had dropped by Hereford during football practice.

“He was wearing his [military] uniform, and he seemed awful proud,” Turnbaugh said.

Like Anderson, Snyder chose to join the Marines long before graduation.

“When you saw them working in the [school’s] weight room, you knew they were getting ready for boot camp as well as for football,” the coach said.

When a bum knee sidelined Snyder as a senior, he volunteered as a coach’s aide. He so impressed the staff that, in a rarity after the 2001 championship, Snyder was presented with his personal jersey (each member of the Hereford team has several uniforms).

After her son’s death, Snyder’s mother returned the jersey to the coach. Turnbaugh had No. 26 framed, and it now hangs by itself at the entrance to his family room.

Why, of the hundreds of young men who have played for him, did Turnbaugh choose Snyder’s jersey to place in his home?

Maybe it was the conversation Snyder’s mother related to the coach as she handed him the jersey.

Before his deployment in 2004, Snyder and his mother sat on the porch swing of their Hampstead home on a warm August day and spoke of the future.

“He talked of what could happen and the things he wanted done,” Doris Snyder said.

“And then Josh said, ‘If you don’t remember anything else, make sure you return my championship jersey to Coach Turnbaugh. He has done so much for me that I want him to have it.’ ”


  • DATE OF BIRTH: 07/21/1984
  • DATE OF DEATH: 10/19/2005

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Norman Wallace Anderson III
Lance Corporal, United States Marine Corps

Family Gathering And Rememberance
Arlington National Cemetery
19 October 2006

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