Born in Lansing Michigan, Neal enlisted in the US Army as a 5th generation soldier, who later, during the Gulf War, was assigned to Officer's Candidate School (OCS), where, after a total of 20 years, retired at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel (LtCol). During that time, Neal was involved in numerous Ranger operations, earning the Congressional Medal of Honor (CMH) as his highest award. Upon departing from the service, he was employed with the Pentagon, providing strategic and tactical assessments in hundreds of military operations. Not long after, he became a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), advising the President of the United States on military operations. It was during one such military briefing that Neal discovered the 'military machine' was out of control, and instead was amassing more firepower than needed in too many 'top secret' programs. When he started investigating, he was relieved of his position.
Jobless and without any influence, Neal eked out a part time job supporting the United Nations security council on a 'as needed' job demand. Married and with 4 children, Neal turned to one of his old friends from his Ranger days, retired General Duke Hart. Hart had been working in a secretive organization the previous five years, and although distasteful to Neal personally, he need a job. Days later, Neal was indoctrinated into GUARD as their new Operations Director, code-named "Oddball".
There, Neal performed his role in creating a revised and powerful structure of subdivisions known as Astroguard, Seaguard, Terraguard and Aeroguard. Through these subdivisions, he'd hoped to ensure that national governments would concern themselves less with their defensive and offensive weaponry and instead focus on their citizens needs. It worked. Within a few years, nations began to focus on their populace and science rather than warring with each other, knowing that GUARD had the world's back.
Then the warlike alien Soltans invaded Earth.
In three months of pitched fighting and incredible coordination, GUARD and the world's nations were able to beat back the Soltans, sending them off-planet and saving Earth. His action garnered him a promotion to the Executive Director of GUARD, code-named, "Mr. Ed". He was well loved and revered by all of GUARD, being called a 'fair, yet hard-charging leader'. During that time, GUARD had set up a new base in Boston, Massachusetts. That's when everything turned upside down for GUARD.
Not too long ago, GUARD's HQ in Boston was informed they were under attack by someone who was considered a hero in the intelligence community. The HQ was cordoned off by US military and police units, attempting to stop her 'rampage' to get to the GUARD HQ and blow it up. Several explosives were found on the building's exits, booby-trapped to blow if anyone in GUARD left the building. Using a little-known blueprint of the building's structure, Neal lead a few hundred guardsmen and women that he was able to get to and used a secret sewer access to get his troops to safety. Only 50 made it to safety before the building blew and the sewer line with the hundreds of other guardsmen and women collapsed, killing all but the 50...and Neal. In a mad attempt to find another way out, he discovered the bodies of the purported ex-heroic and rampaging intelligence officer and his friend and leader, GUARD Director Duke Hart in an adjacent sewer tunnel, moments from its collapse. He grabbed both bodies and with luck and fate on his side, was able to escape the HQ's destruction. All in all, nearly a thousand guardsmen and women died in the HQ's explosion.
Rather than heading back to GUARD and the world, he decided to go 'underground' for a few days to sort out what was going on; his intuition told him something more was at play than a rogue intelligence officer doing a 'bull in a china shop' path of destruction; intelligence officers don't operate that way; they are VERY crafty and subtle in their operations. This whole incident raised a red flag in his mind. He had to find out the truth of what was happening.
After heading to an old safe house he knew of in his JCS days, he contacted an old Army medical officer friend of his from his Ranger days, Dr. Elaine Trask, once a field medic, and now a techno-organic (bionic) surgeon. He had Dr. Trask stabilize the rampaging murdering intelligence officer he'd saved, Camile Jansen, to question her. In the interim, he'd discovered a personal recording device on the body of his old friend and director's body. The recording identified a meeting the director had with Camile Jansen in the sewers minutes before the bombing. In that recording, it was identified that Camile had stumbled on a large 'shadow' organization that was nearly complete in its passive domination of all facets of controlling the world. When she told others about what she'd found, she was set up and hunted. Camile wasn't the one who'd blown the GUARD HQ, or set the explosives in the exits, not did she go on any 'wild' rampage; she'd been set up. The recordings also identified that his now-deceased GUARD Director believed Camile. In the last minute before the explosion, a band of assassins known as "Death Legion" had entered the sewers and were in a fire-fight with the Director and Camile. The Director had been shot to death and Camile lost her arm in the battle. That's when the building blew. Death Legion retreated, and that's when Neal came upon their bodies and dragged them off.
Camile wasn't the terrorist; a huge 'shadow' organization was. With so many variables, and not sure who to trust, Norton's options were extremely limited. Who would you trust? He knew he had to devise a battle plan; a long-term one that would aid him in finding out those responsible for all of this...and crush them. After Camile awoke, she verified all of what the Director's recording device had divulged. Neal had Dr. Trask give Camile a new bionic arm, as well as some plastic surgery to disguise her. Within a week, Neal had devised a plan to make it look like Camile was dead and that GUARD was ineffective and unknowing against all that had transpired.
Disguising Camile and creating a new persona for her, Neal set into motion a plan to have Camile's new persona as Janice Jones, a hateful, corporate ladder-climbing executive, become GUARD's new United Nation's appointed Intelligence Director, allowing Camile to operate and work in plain site.
Neal was promoted to Director of GUARD, replacing his dead friend, Hart. Now as the new Director of GUARD, Neal has set into motion a series of events and operations that are designed to not only establish GUARD as a protector to Earth and local space, but secretly working on the discovery of who or what is behind this 'shadow' organization; an organization that Neal has sworn on the dead GUARDsmen and women who died in the Boston HQ blast that he'd never rest until these shadows were brought to light...and justice.
Neal is married to his wife of 25 years, Sharon Norton. They had four children, Tom (24), Andria (22), William (18) and Karen (15). His wife, Sharon, is a true military spouse, capable of performing any logistic feat necessary to support her family; she's also a proven marksman and an award-winning handgun target shooter (which is where he met her during one of those competitions). Tom is a GUARD officer in the Operations Division, while Andria has just completed helicopter pilot training for the US Coast Guard and intends to work in Search and Rescue (SAR). Will and Karen are attending private schools, and are planning on attending college.