Norris Brown Harbold was born at Fort Niobrara, Neb., in 1906. He attended public schools in the United States, Honolulu Military Academy, a private school in France, and the New York Military Academy. Entering the U.S. Military Academy in July 1924, he graduated June 9, 1928, and was commissioned a second lieutenant of Field Artillery.
That September General Harbold began Primary Flying School at Brooks Field, Texas, graduated from Advanced Flying School at Kelly Field, Texas a year later, and remained there with the 22nd Photo Section. He was transferred to the Air Corps that November. Assigned as engineering officer of the 94th Pursuit Squadron at Selfridge Field Mich. In August 1930, in May 1932 the general joined the Air Navigation Experimental Unit at Bolling Field, Washington, D.C., becoming an instructor in the Navigation School at Langley Field, Va., in October 1933.
Moving to Rockwell Field, Calif., in June 1934, General Harbold served with the l9th Bomb Group until March 1935 when he was named supply officer of the 76th Service Squadron there. In June 1936 he was transferred to the 32nd Bomb Squadron at March Field, Calif. Going to Nichols Field, Philippine Islands in April 1937, he was named adjutant of the 28th Bomb Squadron, later becoming its operations officer, and assuming command of the Third Pursuit Squadron there in July 1938. Appointed operations and engineering officer of the 91st School Squadron, at Maxwell Field, Ala., in June 1939, the following April he assumed command of the squadron.
Assigned as director of the Air Navigation Training School at Barksdale Field, La., in October 1940, the following July General Harbold was appointed director of training at the Advanced Flying School, Turner Field, Ga. Assuming command of Selman Field, La., in May 1942, the following February he was appointed assistant to the assistant chief of staff for operations of the Training Command at Fort Worth, Texas. In March 1944 he assumed command of the 80th Flying Training Wing at San Marcos Field, Texas.
That November the general was named chief of staff of the Third Bomb Division in Europe. Returning to the States in July 1945, the following month he was appointed assistant chief of staff for intelligence of the U.S. Army Strategic Air Forces in the Pacific Theater, assuming additional duty as commanding general of USASTAF in October of 1945.
Four months later General Harbold was appointed chief of the Air Information Division in the Office of the Assistant Chief of Air Staff for Intelligence at Air Corps Headquarters, becoming deputy assistant chief of staff for intelligence in January 1947. Entering the National War College that August he graduated the following June. Named inspector general of the Air Materiel Command at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio in April 1950, he assumed command of the Ogden Air Materiel Area at Hill Air Farce Base, Utah.
A year later General Harbold was designated deputy commander of the 3650th Indoctrination Wing at Sampson Air Force Base, N.Y., assuming command the following month. Assigned at Air Force Headquarters in June 1952, he was named director of training in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel.
Joining the Air Defense Command in January 1956, the general assumed command of the Eastern Air Defense Force at Stewart Air, Force Base, N.Y., with additional duty as commander, Continental Air Defense Force, Eastern Continental Air Defense Region, also at Stewart Air Force Base, Jan. 15, 1957.
His decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, Air Medal, and the Order of the British Empire (Honorary Commander). He is rated a command pilot and aircraft observer.
He was promoted to first lieutenant (permanent) April 1, 1934; to captain (temporary) April 20, 1935; to captain (permanent) June 9, 1938; to major (temporary) Jan. 31, 1941; to lieutenant colonel (temporary) Jan. 5, 1942; to colonel (temporary) March 1, 1942; to brigadier general (temporary) Feb. 27, 1944; to major (permanent) June 9, 1945; to colonel (permanent) April 2, 1948; to brigadier general (permanent) Oct. 9, 1951; to major general (temporary) Oct. 9, 1951; to major general (permanent) Oct. 27, 1954.
(Up to date as of December 1957)