He was a son of Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert G. Lawson.
Gilbert was born in Texarkana, Arkansas. He graduated from Hot Springs High School and enrolled at the Henderson State Teacher's College and received a degree. He entered the Army Air Corps on December 3, 1941, four days before the Japaneses attack at Pearl Harbor. He received his basic training at Maxwell Field, Alabama, and attended Gunnery School at Ft. Myers, Florida, and navigator's school at Selman Field, Louisiana. He qualified as expert in air gunnery and received his gunnery wings, navigator's wings aerial observers wings. Gilbert was assigned to a B-17 in the 301st Bomb Group, 352nd Squadron, 15th Air Force and departed the United States for Africa on October 6, 1943. He participated in 35 missions during the African and Italian campaigns to include bombing runs on the German oil fields at Polesti, Rumania. He also was in raids over Austria, and Germany. Due to his expertise, Gilbert was chosen as navigator for Major Jimmie Doolittle on a special flight through Italy and North Africa in December, 1943. Gilbert was killed in action over Regensburg, Germany during a bombing run on February 25, 1944, when his bomber was shot down. His bomb group received a second Presidential Unit Citation (then known as a Distinguished Unit Citation)for this mission due to the intense and vicious battle the group had with enemy fighters over Germany. His body was buried in Germany then repatriated after the war and returned to his parents for burial in Arkansas.
Gilbert had two younger brothers who also served in World War II. SSgt James C. Lawson fought with the 80th US Army division in Europe and SSgt Raymond W. Lawson served on occupation duty in Japan.
2Lt Gilbert G. Lawrence, Jr., received the following decorations for his service and sacrifice for our country and the Allied cause in World War II:
Air Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters
American Defense Medal
American Campaign Medal with two battle stars
World War II Victory Medal
Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon with Oak Leaf Cluster
(Biography written by Rick Lawrence, MSgt., USMC/USAFR [RET])
Arkansas 2nd Lt 352 AAF Bomb SQ WWII
Sponsored by Ancestry