September 9, 2022: Lawrence Dickson

Army Air Force Veteran Lawrence Dickson is today's Veteran of the Day.
Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Air Force Veteran Lawrence Dickson, who served with the Tuskegee Airmen in World War II.

Lawrence E. Dickson was born in May 1920, in South Carolina, and later moved to Bronx, New York. He joined the Army Air Force and graduated from the Tuskegee Institute in March 1943. He became a pilot in the 100th Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group, according to a U.S. Army story.

Dickson was part of the famed Tuskegee Airmen, a group of over 900 primarily African American pilots who served in World War II. They were the first African American pilots in the armed forces, and like many African Americans were at the time, were segregated from the rest of the armed services.

Dickson was sent to Europe and was stationed in Ramitelli, Italy. He held the rank of captain, and on Dec. 23, 1944, was flying his 68th combat mission heading toward Prague. An NPR article details how Dickson started to experience engine problems an hour into the mission and turned his plane around to return to base. However, the troubles worsened, and he was forced to find a place to crash land or eject. When Dickson’s wingman on the mission, Lt. Robert Martin, tried to locate Dickson, he couldn’t see a parachute or any remnants of a crash. Dickson was declared missing in action (MIA).

Decades passed without any official alterations to his MIA status. In recent years, archaeologists and researchers have been in Europe investigating World War II crash sites, and they came across a crash on the then Austrian-Italian border, around where Dickson crashed. They also found the remains of a P-51 aircraft, the same type that Dickson flew. After DNA samples were taken from the ashes in November 2018, they discovered they belonged to Dickson.

A ceremony was held a few months later honoring Dickson’s service. His daughter, Marla Andrews, received on her father’s behalf a Distinguished Flying Cross, a Purple Heart and other awards, according to the U.S. Army article. Dickson was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery in March 2019.

We honor his service.

Nominate a Veteran for #VeteranOfTheDay

Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.

It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.

Writer: Ryan Beane

Editor: Merrit Pope

Researcher: Patrick Woods

Graphic Designer: Philip Levine

By DME Interns

Share this story

Published on Sep. 9, 2022

Estimated reading time is 1.9 min.

Views to date: 686


  1. Michael A. Terrell September 15, 2022 at 10:22 pm - Reply

    I met one of these pilots a few years ago at the Marion County Florida Veterans Park in Ocala. He was wheelchair bound, but he still had a sharp mind, and I got to talk with him for a few minutes. I think he was the last surviving member of the Tuskegee Airmen in this area.

  2. Senior Veterans Care Network September 12, 2022 at 10:20 am - Reply

    We honor the service of Lawrence E. Dickson.

  3. Maria September 11, 2022 at 4:12 pm - Reply

    Lawrence Dickson was an American pilot is a great man with good heart I wish him well along with his family.

    Thanks for your service sir.

Leave A Comment

More Stories

  • Alan Shepard served in the Navy aboard a destroyer and as a test pilot. He was a member of the NASA Mercury Seven and became the first American to travel into space.

  • Army Veteran Charles W. Whittlesey is a Medal of Honor Recipient and is today’s Veteran of the Day.

  • Army Veteran Hank Welzel served in the Korean War, but his military experience began in the German Army during World War II.