Norman Fortier was born on May 30, 1922, in Pelham, New Hampshire. He enlisted in the Aviation Cadet Program of the U.S. Army Air Forces on January 21, 1942, and was commissioned a 2d Lt and awarded his pilot wings at Spence Field, Alabama, on January 14, 1943. After completing P-47 Thunderbolt Training, he was assigned to the 354th Fighter Squadron of the 355th Fighter Group in England, where he served from July 1943 to September 1945. During this time, Capt Fortier was credited with the destruction of 5.833 enemy aircraft in aerial combat plus 2 damaged, and another 5.5 on the ground while strafing enemy airfields. He served briefly with the 370th Fighter Group before leaving active duty on February 5, 1946, and joining the New Hampshire Air National Guard. Maj Fortier returned to active duty with the U.S. Air Force on December 25, 1948, and after completing refresher training he was assigned to the 317th Troop Carrier Group in Europe from February to September 1949 in support of the Berlin Airlift. He was then assigned as Operations Officer with the 86th Fighter Bomber Group at Neubiberg AB, Germany, from September 1949 to January 1952, followed by service as Operations Officer for the 31st Strategic Fighter Wing at Turner AFB, Georgia, from June 1952 to October 1953. Col Fortier next served with Headquarters U.S. Air Force at the Pentagon from October 1953 to November 1956, and then with the Military Advisory Assistance Group in the Netherlands from November 1956 to August 1959. His final assignment was with the 100th Bomb Wing at Pease AFB, New Hampshire, where he served from August 1959 until his retirement from the Air Force on December 31, 1964. During his time at Pease, he served as a B-47 Stratojet aircraft commander and as Commander of the 100th Organizational Maintenance Squadron.
His 1st (of 4) Distinguished Flying Cross Citation reads:
For extraordinary achievement and heroism in aerial combat and the destruction of three enemy airplanes over enemy occupied Continental Europe. The skillful and zealous manner in which Lt. Fortier has sought out the enemy and destroyed him, his devotion to duty and courage under all conditions serve as an inspiration to his fellow flyers. His actions on all these occasions reflect the highest credit upon himself and the Armed Force of the United States.