NEW YORK, NY
U.S. ARMY AIR FORCES
CPT, 100th FIGHTER SQDN, 332nd FIGHTER GROUP, SELFRIDGE AAB, DETROIT, MI
12/23/1944, NEAR HOHENTHURN, AUSTRIA
CPT Lawrence E. Dickson was born in 1920. He joined the Army Air Forces in New York City. He had two years of college and worked in civilian life as a laboratory technician. CPT Dickson was married. There were two other Tuskegee airmen in the Dickson family, including one of his brothers. He had a daughter who was just 2 years old when her father went missing.
Seventy-five years after his fighter plane crashed on the Austria-Italy border, pilot and Tuskegee Airman CPT Lawrence E. Dickson was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery as four Air Force jets soared overhead with his daughter and grandchildren looking on.
CPT Dickson trained at the Tuskegee Army Flying School, Tuskegee, AL.
Lawrence Dickson went missing after his P-51D Mustang fighter nicknamed “Peggin” suffered engine failure and crashed. CPT Dickson was reported missing in action somewhere between the Italian and Austrian mountains during an aerial reconnaissance mission from Ramitelli Air Base in Italy, headed for Nazi-occupied Prague. It was two days before Christmas 1944. This was his 68th mission. CPT Dickson had already been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for meritorious service.
Reverend Jerry Sanders of Fountain Baptist Church, Summit, NJ spoke about CPT Dickson. He likened CPT Dickson to the Old Testament patriarch Joseph, whose bones were carried by his people to the Promised Land from the foreign realm where he died.
“Joseph served his people on foreign soil,” said the Reverend Sanders. “What we do for CPT Dickson today is what they did for Joseph in the long ago. Remember your future is based on my past as Joseph reminded his people. The bones of Joseph, like the bones of Captain Dickson, tell a story.”
CPT Dickson was among the more than 900 black pilots who were trained at the segregated Tuskegee Airfield in Alabama during World War II. The Tuskegee Airmen were African-American men from all over the country who fought racism and oppression at home and enemy pilots and antiaircraft gunners overseas.