Maj. General Thomas Suelzer was announced as her replacement Monday, which comes after a barrage of criticism over the state guard’s actions from both the political left and right.
Norris’ appointment expired on February 1 this year.
“General Norris faithfully served the Texas Military Department with dignity, as Adjutant General beginning in January 2019, as Assistant Adjutant General in 2016, and over her decades of service,” said Governor Abbott in a release. “I thank General Norris for her exceptional service to the State of Texas and am honored to appoint her successor, Major General Thomas Suelzer, as the Adjutant General of Texas. General Suelzer brings a wealth of military experience to this new role, and I am confident that he will uphold the integrity of the Texas Military Department and exemplify servant leadership throughout every aspect of this position.”
The TMD oversees the Texas Army National Guard, Texas Air National Guard, and Texas State Guard.
Norris and TMD leadership have been criticized over Operation Lone Star — the state’s response to foot traffic moving across its southern border — and the conditions guardsmen are facing. TMD rebuked media reports that made allegations of mistreatment toward guardsmen as “irresponsible journalism.”
Operation Lone Star began in March 2021 when illegal border crossings began to jump.
The TMD, and Abbott by extension, have also received flak for at first abiding by the U.S. Secretary of Defense’s coronavirus vaccine mandate which left in jeopardy not only drill pay but their jobs writ large for unvaccinated guardsmen. In January, months after the federal order was handed down, Abbott and the State of Texas sued the Biden administration over the mandate. That case is still in front of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.
Suelzer graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1990 and served on active duty for a decade, followed by seven years in the reserves. In 2007, he joined the Texas Air National Guard where he has served in various capacities including his most recent post as deputy adjutant general-air for the Texas National Guard.
Suelzer’s appointment is effective today, March 14, 2022.
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Brad Johnson is a senior reporter for The Texan and an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.