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Mon, 05.31.1920

Lawrence Everett Dickson, Pilot born

*Lawrence Everett Dickson was born on this date in 1920. He was a Black soldier and Tuskegee Airman pilot.  

He was a native of South Carolina, had taught himself how to play the guitar and spent two years studying chemistry at the City College of New York.  Phyllis and Lawrence Dickson had been married in November 1941.  She was Phyllis Constance Maillard, 23, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants. She later got the nickname Fifi.  He often went by his middle name, Everett.  

On March 25, 1943, Dickson enlisted in the US Army Air Services (Air force) and reported to Tuskegee Airfield in Alabama for training.   Two days before Christmas 1944, Dickson took off from his base at Ramitelli, in southern Italy, in a sleek P-51D nicknamed “Peggin,” headed for Nazi-occupied Prague, Czechoslovakia.  Dickson was on his 68th mission and had already been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for meritorious service.  

He was leading a three-Mustang escort of a fast but unarmed photo reconnaissance plane, according to the account of a wingman, 2nd Lt. Robert L. Martin, many years later.  “After 70 missions Dickson would have been eligible for R&R back home, Martin recounted in a 1997 letter, adding that white pilots needed only 50 missions for such a break.”.Capt. Lawrence E. Dickson, 24, a Black fighter pilot who had trained at the Tuskegee Army Flying School, had gone down over Italy, it was thought, on Dec. 23, 1944.  Missing in action and his body was irretrievable for 73 years.  In 2017, his remains were recovered in Europe, he is buried in Arlington National cemetery.

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