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Sat, 05.31.1919

Erwin Lawrence, Soldier born

Erwin Lawrence

*Erwin Lawrence was born on this date in 1919. He was a Black soldier. Erwin B. Lawrence, Jr., was from Cleveland, Ohio. After enlisting in the army, he graduated from flight training at Tuskegee Army Airfield in Alabama.

During this time, he married chemist, Blanche Lawrence. After flight training, Lawrence joined the 99th Fighter Squadron, declared combat-ready on September 15. 1942. The squadron finally deployed in April 1943, serving first in North Africa and then moving to Italy in July. Lawrence embarked on a remarkable career, although it was short-lived. He participated in nearly one hundred dive bombing, strafing, patrol, and escort missions. Lawrence gained a probable kill over Anzio, Italy, on January 27, 1944.

Throughout his career, he had high respect. He led pilots of the 332nd Fighter Group on the fateful mission to Greece-the targets at the time were Kolamoi, Megara, Eleusis, and the Athens Tatoi Airdromes. However, during this time, the Germans opened fire, and as Captain Lawrence prepared to pull out, a barrage of machine gun fire raked his aircraft. He spun to the ground, a loss to the military. Lawrence was awarded the Air Medal with three Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters. He died on October 4, 1944.

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