VADM Lawrence was born in Nashville, Tennessee on January 13, 1930, and
graduated with distinction from the U. S. Naval Academy in June 1951. After
receiving his Navy wings in November 1952, he served in the following Navy
fighter squadrons: VF-193, VF-101, VF-14 and VF-143 and made deployments in
the Atlantic and Pacific on seven different aircraft carriers. He flew 25
combat missions in Korea and 150 combat missions in Vietnam.
He graduated number one in his Naval Test Pilot School class in 1956 and
while a Test Pilot at the Naval Air Test Center Patuxent River, MD., was the
first naval aviator to fly twice the speed of sound in a Navy airplane, the
F8U "Crusader III."
While Commanding Officer of VF-143 aboard USS Constellation on his second
combat deployment to Vietnam, he was shot down on June 28, 1967, and held as
a P.O.W. until March 4, 1973. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal
for inspirational leadership of fellow P.O.W.'s as senior ranking officer of
Camp Vegas in North Vietnam.
After repatriation and convalescence, he became a distinguished graduate of
the National War College. Following promotion to Rear Admiral in 1974, he
served as: Commander, Light Attack Wing, U. S. Pacific Fleet; Director
Aviation Programs Division on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations;
Assistant Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Air Warfare); Superintendent, U.
S. Naval Academy; Commander, U. S. Third Fleet in the Pacific; and Chief of
Naval Personnel, retiring in 1986.
From 1986 to 1991, VADM Lawrence occupied the Chair of Naval Leadership at
the U. S. Naval Academy. He is the recipient of the National Football
Foundation and Hall of Fame Gold Medal and the National Collegiate Athletic
Association Theodore Roosevelt Award, the highest honors of these
organizations. He is also a past President of the Association of Naval