LAWRENCE, WILLIAM PORTER Deceased
Name: William Porter Lawrence Rank/Branch: O5/US Navy Unit: Fighter Squadron 143, USS CONSTELLATION Date of Birth: Home City of Record: Nashville TN Date of Loss: 28 June 1967 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 203300N 1060400E (XH111725) Status (in 1973): Released POW Category: Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4B Missions: 50+ Other Personnel in Incident: James W. Bailey (released POW)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 May 1990 from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W. NETWORK 2011.
REMARKS: 730304 RELSD BY DRV
SYNOPSIS: The USS CONSTELLATION provided air power to the U.S. effort in Vietnam early in the war, having participated in strikes against Loc Chao and Hon Gai in North Vietnam during August 1964. One of the first American POWs of the war, and certainly one of the most well-known, LTJG Everett Alverez, launched from her decks and was captured during this series of strikes in 1964. The CONSTELLATION was large and carried a full range of aircraft. Fighters from her air wing, CVW-14, earned the carrier the Meritorious Unit Commendation in 1968 during a particularly intense period of air attacks. VF-96, a premier fighter squadron awarded the Clifton Trophy two straight years, flew from the CONSTELLATION in October 1971. During this period, two of her pilots, LT Randall H. Cunningham and LTJG William "Willie" Driscoll became the first American aces of the Vietnam War, having shot down five Russian-made MiG enemy aircraft. The CONSTELLATION remained on station throughout most of the war.
One of the aircraft launched from the decks of the CONSTELLATION was the F4 Phantom. The Phantom, used by Air Force, Marine and Navy air wings, served a multitude of functions including fighter-bomber and interceptor, photo and electronic surveillance. The two man aircraft was extremely fast (Mach 2), and had a long range (900 - 2300 miles, depending on stores and mission type). The F4 was also extremely maneuverable and handled well at low and high altitudes. The F4 was selected for a number of state-of-the-art electronics conversions, which improved radar intercept and computer bombing capabilities enormously. Most pilots considered it one of the "hottest" planes around.
CDR William P. "Bill" Lawrence was the commanding officer of Fighter Squadron 143 onboard the USS CONSTELLATION. On 28 June 1967, Lawrence and his backseater, LTJG James W. Bailey, flew a mission over Nam Dinh, North Vietnam in their F4B Phantom. The aircraft was hit by enemy fire and the crew was forced to eject. Both Lawrence and Bailey were captured by the North Vietnamese.
It was not yet known that POWs were being tortured in captivity in Vietnam, but Lawrence was to endure five consecutive days of misery in the hands of his captors. By the time Lawrence and Bailey reached Hanoi, other POW officers were devising their own code of conduct that specifically applied to the problems they encountered as prisoners of war.
For the next six years, Lawrence and Bailey were held prisoner in the Hanoi prison system. Finally, on February 18, 1973, Bailey was released, and on March 4 Lawrence was released. The two were among 591 Americans that were released in Operation Homecoming in the spring of 1973.
Since the war ended, nearly 10,000 reports relating to Americans missing, prisoner or unaccounted for in Southeast Asia have been received by the U.S. Government. Many authorities who have examined this largely classified information are convinced that hundreds of Americans are still held captive today. These reports are the source of serious distress to many returned American prisoners. They had a code that no one could honorably return unless all of the prisoners returned. Not only that code of honor, but the honor of our country is at stake as long as even one man remains unjustly held. It's time we brought our men home.
James W. Bailey was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant during his captivity. William P. Lawrence remained in the Navy and attained the rank of Vice Admiral.
SOURCE: WE CAME HOME copyright 1977 Captain and Mrs. Frederic A Wyatt (USNR Ret), Barbara Powers Wyatt, Editor P.O.W. Publications, 10250 Moorpark St., Toluca Lake, CA 91602 Text is reproduced as found in the original publication (including date and spelling errors). UPDATE - 09/95 by the P.O.W. NETWORK, Skidmore, MO
WILLIAM P. LAWRENCE Captain - United States Navy Shot Down: June 28, 1967 Released: March 4, 1973
I was shot down during an early morning bombing mission. Hours thereafter I had my first interrogation session. I had been captured by a band of stick swinging peasants who turned me over to the armed citizenry. The militia decided that we would run the entire distance to the outpost where I would be transported to Hanoi. we ran two abreast with the peasants and tattered clothed children running along poking and prodding me with their sticks. I had always kept myself in good physical condition, but my guard was in his twenties and I was in my late thirties and did not have the endurance of a younger man. It's hard for a person to believe, but I was literally running for my life. We ran for an hour or two, we finally reached the outpost, I was blindfolded and handcuffed, placed in a truck for an unbelievably uncomfortable trip to Hanoi. Upon my arrival I was put on the floor in a room, tied and blindfolded. I was left for about an hour. Then in came the famous Bug who was in charge of my interrogation. He had probably the worst personality I had ever encountered in my life and had a great deal of hatred for Americans and delighted in his role of being in charge of the camp's torture program. When I refused to answer their questions I was given to understand that I was a criminal and would be treated as such. It wasn't long before the torture session started. A professional jailer before the war, old Strap and Bar, also known as Pig Eye, soon went to work on me. The flesh was literally stripped from my ankles from writhing in the irons. I still carry the cigarette burns on my arms which are the result of a torture session. We were not only tortured for information, but also to visit with peace delegations. If we refused, we were tortured and if one finally consented to do so, he would be tortured before hand to be certain he said the right things. You could never trust a Communist. I've never met one who would tell you the truth.
Time passed slowly. We learned to plan our day around thinking. I went through my complete life detail by detail three times. However, when we were allowed to have roommates we would find out what each man knew and then exchange information. We were only allowed to speak in a whisper. One of my specialty areas is the Civil War I shared this information. One roommate knew a lot about the repair of automobiles he taught us auto maintenance; another was proficient in Spanish and another in French. The North Vietnamese would not give us any writing materials but it wasn't long before we had our own supply. Pencils were made out of toothpaste tubes. We learned to sharpen the points of bamboo sticks and use stolen Vietnamese medicine or ink. Ink can be made by mixing charcoal with soap.
The days were easy to determine because we were not permitted to wash on Sunday. Our "baths" were taken from something like an old horse trough and a can was given to you to pour cold water over you. This outdoor facility was the one used in winter and summer.
Now that I am home I wish I could bring Bug back to the United States and show him how distorted his views of our country really are. I would like to give him a grand tour of the United States and show him that America is humane and tries to do what is right.
My main message that I wish to convey is my deep feeling of gratitude to the American people for their many kindnesses to the returned POWs for their constant concern and prayers during our captivity and for their magnificent efforts to bring us home. We shall be eternally indebted to the people of this wonderful country.
William Lawrence retired from the United States Navy as a Vice Admiral. He and his wife Diane resided in Maryland until his death.
The Dad: Bill Lawrence, fighter pilot, Vietnam POW
The Daughter: Laurie Lawrence, assistant professor of emergency medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center
One day in 1972, during her junior year in high school in Encinitas, Calif., Laurie Lawrence realized her father was never coming home again. Five years earlier, Navy Capt. Bill Lawrence had been shot down over North Vietnam, a fighter pilot whose luck had run out on his 76th mission.
"They had a father-daughter event at school," she says, "and I remember it just hitting me like a ton of bricks that I didn't have a dad and wasn't ever going to have a dad. In my mind, he was dead. It was the first time it ever really seemed permanent."
On a June afternoon in 1967, Laurie had learned he'd been shot down when a friend's mother, rather than her own, picked her and some friends up after an afternoon sporting event. "Where's my mom?" she asked the friend's mother, who remained strangely silent.
"I knew what it meant when the official car was at our house," says Laurie, who had grown up with an older brother and younger sister on and around military bases. Her mother knew the life as well--her own father had been shot down in the Philippines during World War II. "It was so typical of my mother--she was real matter-of-fact. She told us, 'Your father's been shot down and they don't know if he's alive.' We weren't allowed to cry. It was just, 'That's how it is. There's nothing to cry about, so we're just going to carry on.' She was just like the mother in Pat Conroy's The Great Santini."
For months there were mixed signals. The family received a stilted letter, ostensibly from her father. Laurie's mother declared it a fake and said he probably wasn't coming home. She eventually began dating someone else and finally remarried. Laurie let herself hope for a time that her dad was returning, but as the war in Vietnam dragged on, that hope faded and finally died for good by the time she turned 16.
When Laurie was a small child, Bill Lawrence was a test pilot at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland--"perhaps the ablest...Pax River was to produce," according to James A. Michener in his book Space. It was high praise, since Lawrence's colleagues included the core of the future astronaut crew--Alan Shepard, Wally Schirra, Pete Conrad, Jim Lovell. In fact, it was only a minor congenital heart valve problem that kept Bill Lawrence, a star scholar/athlete at Nashville's West High, from an almost certain future as one of the first astronauts.
He rose through the ranks, alternating long periods at sea with work at bases in Florida. He flew in the missing man formation at the funeral of President John F. Kennedy. Laurie saw him as a strict but fair disciplinarian who wanted to pass on life's lessons as he saw them. "We were expected to do our best, to give something back to society," she says. "We weren't here just to take a free ride."
By the mid-'60s, Vietnam was heating up and Capt. Lawrence, prompted by his own sense of duty, wanted to go. He got his wish, becoming a squadron leader in the Pukin' Dogs, a legendary group of fighter pilots. Then, on June 28, 1967, after four hours' sleep aboard the carrier Constellation, he led a 35-jet bombing raid on Haiphong. When his F-4 Phantom was hit, he could have turned and reached the safety of the Gulf of Tonkin, but he decided to take the hard-to-control plane through the rest of his mission and try to knock out North Vietnamese who might otherwise shoot down more American jets.
In late 1972, Laurie lived with her mother, stepfather, sister and two stepbrothers near San Diego. She had gone through a period of depression and fought with her stepfather, chafing at his attempts to discipline her. No one talked about her father. Then one day in 1973, the world turned upside down. "It was one of those really beautiful days in January," she says. "I was out riding my bike with some friends when my stepdad came down the road in his car and said, 'They just announced that your father's going to come home. You need to go home right now.' He looked like someone had hit him with a wet fish."
Laurie was just as shocked. "You know how you pinch yourself to see that you're not dreaming? That's how I felt. I knew there was going to be both happiness and sadness. I thought for a while that my mother would go back to my dad."
Her father returned in March with the scores of other prisoners who had been held in the infamous Hoa Lo prison--the Hanoi Hilton. Capt. Lawrence had been there nearly six years, enduring seemingly endless torture and solitary confinement. Laurie and her siblings met him in Memphis. "I remember hugging him and he was real, real thin, but it was weird that there was really somebody there," she says. "To me, he'd come back from the dead."
She would get to know him again during the ensuing months and years, changing her college plans from UCLA to Vanderbilt to be nearer to him. But no matter how closely they drew together, there was one part of his life he wouldn't share with her. "He'll tell me blow by blow about the operations he's had since he's been back," she says, "but he doesn't tell me anything about Vietnam, about being tortured, unless it's really light--maybe talking about the nicknames they'd given the guards and how they teased them."
He and Laurie's mother talked once after his return, but there would be no reconciliation. The family returned to the business of living out his creed of giving back. Laurie became a physician, and she currently oversees the night shift in Vanderbilt Medical Center's ER. Her sister Wendy became an astronaut, her brother Bill Jr. an information technology manager of the Americas Region with Edison Mission Energy.
Capt. Lawrence remarried and got on a career fast track, becoming a rear admiral and deputy chief of naval operations. Laurie has since made peace with her stepdad, "apologizing for some of the less than lovely things I said when I was 14."
In recent years, Bill Lawrence has faced another battle, working through the effects of a stroke. "He wasn't supposed to survive, and then he did," says Laurie. "I think he came out of it saying, 'I'm going to beat this.' We thought he might get back to normal, but it was a devastating stroke and it's a miracle he's gotten as far as he has."
His attitude in the face of this latest adversity continues to teach lessons. "I think he's always been a guidepost to us," Laurie says. "I think of him as an overcomer. One thing I've learned from my dad is that we can go a lot farther than we think we can. I learned just to persevere and hold to love and duty. I've always been so thankful I can be proud of who my dad is. That's such a gift."
VADM William P. Lawrence, USN, died Friday, December 2, 2005.
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 Aviation.
In addition to the three Distinguished Service Medals, VADM Lawrence was awarded three Silver Star Medals, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star, numerous Air Medals and two Purple Hearts.
Bill Lawrence he was an inspiration to all who knew him. This American hero shall be missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Diane and family for their terrible loss.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Farewell to an American Hero By Frank A. Aukofer
Posted: Jan. 14, 2006
Not many of us ever witness the farewell to a hero. Unless it's a president or chief justice, it's not something that makes the national news. Only the people who attend get to experience what it's all about.
William P. Lawrence
The nation and, in particular, the United States Navy, recently gave a hero's sendoff to Vice Admiral William Porter Lawrence at the U.S. Naval Academy.
The local newspaper and television in Annapolis, Md., covered the story. But that was about it.
Of course, every man and woman serving in harm's way, and especially those who give their lives or are wounded, deserves the title of hero. But Admiral Lawrence was special. He spent his life in the service of his country, including six years in a brutal prison camp in Vietnam.
Like most of you, I had never heard of him. We were brought together by the Freedom Forum, a foundation that promotes free speech, free press and free spirit. We spent nine months together in 1994-'95 on fellowships at the foundation's First Amendment Center in Nashville, Bill's hometown.
Together, we tried to reconcile the disparate goals and means of America's mighty military and its unfettered journalism. The result was a book on the military-media relationship titled "America's Team: The Odd Couple." Among other things, it recommended the embedding of reporters with military units, which is practiced to this day.
When I first met Bill, I was struck by his reluctance to make eye contact - until I understood. When we'd sit and talk, he usually focused somewhere near my kneecaps. It took awhile for me to figure out that it was a lingering residue of his dealings with guards and interrogators during his six years in Hoa Lo, the infamous French-built North Vietnamese prison camp, which Bill and his fellow prisoners nicknamed the Hanoi Hilton.
They were there at his funeral - 24 of them, now mostly old men, some hobbling on canes and staffs, led by Sen. John McCain, the Arizona Republican and possible presidential candidate.
Despite our disparate backgrounds - a Milwaukee kid who became a newspaper reporter and a Nashville boy who excelled at sports and academics and nearly became an astronaut - Bill and I became close. With more tragedy and suffering, it intensified into what Bill's wife, Diane, said simply was love.
A month after the book was published in 1995, Bill suffered a massive stroke at the Naval Hospital in Bethesda, Md., where he had gone to have a heart valve replaced. It was the same valve that had produced a murmur that lost him a shot at the astronaut corps with John Glenn and Alan Shepard.
Instead, he became a test pilot and the first naval aviator to fly at twice the speed of sound in the 1950s. Later, he became a squadron commander in Vietnam. He bailed out of his crippled F-4 Phantom fighter in June 1967 and spent six years as a prisoner of war. With him in the Hanoi Hilton were McCain and future Admiral James B. Stockdale, who later became H. Ross Perot's running mate in Perot's maverick bid for the presidency.
There are so many interlocking relationships. Perot and Bill Lawrence had been classmates at the Naval Academy, where they collaborated on a codification of the honor code. McCain's physical therapist, after his release from Hoa Lo, was Diane. At the funeral, he said she had restored a knee that the doctors said would never function again - using, he said to laughter, some of the same tactics as had his North Vietnamese captors.
McCain introduced Diane to Bill, and she became his lifeline for 31 years, though she said he never got over the fact that his first wife left him while he was a prisoner.
When I met Bill, he was retired from the Navy. He suffered from depression, and his own honor code forced him to disclose it. But he had served as commander of the famed Third Fleet and, from 1978 to 1981, was superintendent of the Naval Academy, at a time when women were first graduating. His daughter, Wendy, was one of them. She now is a Navy captain and an astronaut who has logged more than 1,200 hours in space.
The 1995 stroke nearly killed Bill, and he likely would have been a wheelchair-bound invalid but for Diane. She used the same harsh and loving tactics on him as she had on McCain, and Bill responded. He could no longer play tennis or drive a car, but he could walk under his own power and function as a human being.
Bill spent a lot of time on the telephone. We spoke often and got together at home or Navy events like the Navy-Air Force football game, where, courtesy of Bill, I got to ride to the stadium on the Academy superintendent's bus with a police escort.
I was always struck by the respect the military community paid to Bill. Everywhere we sat together, old friends, acquaintances and strangers, officers and enlisted men and women, lined up to pay their respects to this man who had suffered so much he aged before his time.
Recently, my wife and I were on a foreign trip, and we went on a tour of the Hoa Lo prison in Hanoi, now a memorial that features McCain's flight suit and boots in a glass case. We were excited to return and tell Bill we had seen where he and the others were imprisoned.
But he had died at home, at age 75, on Dec. 2, 2005. He told Diane he was feeling poorly and stayed in bed. She was baking Christmas cookies and found him when she went to check on him.
Bill was cremated, and his remains were placed in a polished wooden box. At his funeral, the box was carried by an honor guard into the Naval Academy chapel, which holds 2,500 and was nearly full for the Dec. 14 funeral.
Perot and McCain, with the 23 other former POWs standing behind him, delivered the eulogies, along with two of Bill's doctors, another fellow prisoner of war, Capt. Ned Shuman, and the chief of naval operations, Adm. Michael G. Mullen. Perot read a tribute from President Bush.
The words were all about a lifetime of integrity, duty, bravery and unflinching honor, often in the face of torture and unrelenting adversity. Once, in solitary confinement in the hole in Hoa Lo, Bill composed - in his head because there was nothing with which to write - a poem about his native Tennessee, remembering the iambic pentameter he had learned as a schoolboy.
His fourth-grade teacher, Mrs. Lipscomb Davis, a spry 90-year-old, marched to the pulpit and read the poem. After Bill was released from the prison in 1973, the Tennessee Legislature adopted it as the official state poem.
After the service, the mourners followed an honor guard more than a mile on a bitterly cold day to the hillside cemetery overlooking the Naval Academy. Walking at the head of the procession, behind Diane's car, were Mullen; Marine Gen. Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Vice Admiral Rodney P. Rempt, the academy superintendent; Capt. Wendy Lawrence, and Bill's other two children, William Jr. and Laurie M. Lawrence, a Nashville physician; and me.
On the hillside, the throng prayed with the academy chaplain, listened to the mournful playing of "Taps," heard the crack of honor guard rifles and trembled to the crashes of a 15-gun cannon salute. Three Navy F-18 warplanes roared overhead in a tribute to a fallen warrior.
That is how we honor a hero.
Frank Aukofer is the retired Washington bureau chief of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and The Milwaukee Journal.
Tennessee State Poem Oh Tennessee, My Tennessee by Vice-Admiral William Lawrence
Oh Tennessee, my Tennessee What love and pride I feel for thee. You proud ole state, the volunteer, Your proud traditions I hold dear.
I revere your heroes Who bravely fought our country's foes. Renowned statesmen, so wise and strong, Who served our country well and long.
I thrill at thoughts of mountains grand; Rolling green hills and fertile farm land; Earth rich with stone, mineral and ore; Forests dense and wild flowers galore;
Powerful rivers that bring us light; Deep lakes with fish and fowl in flight; Thriving cities and industries; Fine schools and universities;
Strong folks of pioneer descent, Simple, honest, and reverent. Beauty and hospitality Are the hallmarks of Tennessee.
And o'er the world as I may roam, No place exceeds my boyhood home. And oh how much I long to see My native land, my Tennessee.
The official Tennessee Poem, "Oh Tennessee, My Tennessee", by Vice-Admiral William P. Lawrence, was adopted in 1973. This poem was composed by William Lawrence, in his head, while held in solitary confinement in a North Vietnamese prisoner of war camp. During the Vietnam War, Lawrence spent almost six years as a prisoner of war (POW) at the infamous Hoa Lo Prison (Hanoi Hilton).
August 20, 2008
April 15, 2010
Navy Christens Guided Missile Destroyer William P. Lawrence
The Navy will christen the newest Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer, William P. Lawrence, April 17, 2010, during a 10 a.m. CDT ceremony at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss.
Designated DDG 110, the new destroyer honors the late Vice Adm. William P. Lawrence, who served nearly six years as a prisoner of war (POW) in North Vietnam and later as superintendent of the Naval Academy.
Lawrence was born Jan. 13, 1930, in Nashville, Tenn. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1951. At the Naval Academy, he played three varsity sports and was president and brigade commander, in which capacity he helped establish the Brigade Honor concept. He graduated from the Naval Air Test Center as an honor graduate and in 1958 was the first naval aviator to fly twice the speed of sound.
During the Vietnam War, as commanding officer of Fighter Squadron 143, Lawrence earned the Silver Star for a strike against a heavily defended target in North Vietnam. He completed his mission, but was captured after his aircraft went down. He remained a POW from June 1967 until March 1973. He earned the Distinguished Service Medal for his leadership to fellow POWs.
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.
Ross Perot, Texas businessman and former presidential candidate, will deliver the ceremony's principal address. Diane Lawrence, widow of the ship's namesake and Vice Adm. Lawrence's daughters, Laurie Lawrence, M.D., and Capt. Wendy Lawrence, USN (Ret.) will serve as sponsors of the ship. In accordance with Navy tradition, they will break a bottle of champagne across the ship's bow and christen the ship.
William P. Lawrence, the 60th Arleigh Burke class destroyer, will be able to conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection. William P. Lawrence will be capable of fighting air, surface and subsurface battles simultaneously and contains a myriad of offensive and defensive weapons designed to supportmaritime warfare in keeping with "A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower," which postures the sea services to apply maritime power to protect U.S. vital interests in an increasingly interconnected and uncertain world.
Cmdr. Thomas R. Williams, II, is the prospective commanding officer of the ship and will lead the crew of 276 officers and enlisted personnel. The 9,200-ton William P. Lawrence is being built by Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss. The ship is 509 feet in length, has a waterline beam of 59 feet, and a navigational draft of 31 feet. Four gas turbine engines will power the ship to speeds in excess of 30 knots.
Additional information on Arleigh Burke class destroyers is available online at http://www.navy.mil/navydata/fact_display.asp?cid=4200&tid=900&ct=4 .
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
Navy Commissions New Guided Missile Destroyer William P. Lawrence
The Navy will commission the newest Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer, William P. Lawrence, Saturday, June 4, 2011, during an 11 a.m. CDT ceremony at Pier 2, Alabama State Docks, Mobile, Ala.
Designated DDG 110, the new destroyer honors the late Vice Adm. William P. Lawrence. During the Vietnam War, as commanding officer of Fighter Squadron 143, Lawrence earned the Silver Star for a strike against a heavily defended target in North Vietnam. He completed his mission, but was captured after his aircraft went down in June 1967 and he remained a POW until March 1973. He earned the Distinguished Service Medal for his leadership to fellow POWs.
Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr., commander, U.S. Northern Command will deliver the ceremony's principal address. Diane Lawrence, widow of the ship's namesake and Vice Adm. Lawrence's daughters, Dr. Laurie Lawrence, and retired Navy Capt. Wendy Lawrence, will serve as sponsors of the ship.
William P. Lawrence,the 60th Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, will be able to conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection. William P. Lawrence will be capable of fighting air, surface and subsurface battles simultaneously and will contain myriad offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime warfare.
Cmdr. Thomas R. Williams II will become the first commanding officer of the ship. The 9,200-ton William P. Lawrence was built by Huntington Ingalls Industries in Pascagoula, Miss. The ship is 509 feet in length, has a waterline beam of 59 feet, and a navigational draft of 31 feet. Four gas turbine engines will power the ship to speeds in excess of 30 knots.
Media may direct queries to the Navy Office of Information at 703-697-5342. For more information on Arleigh Burke class destroyers, visit
Mattoon woman to pass POW bracelet on to family of sailor
Kevin Kilhoffer | Journal Gazette, AP Lisa Hamblen, of Mattoon, on May 25 shows the ship insignia, POW bracelet and invitation for a commissioning ceremony ...
ILLINOIS SPOTLIGHT: Woman to return Vietnam POW bracelet
to family ...
Greenfield Daily Reporter
In this photo taken May 25, 2011, Lisa Hamblen shows the ship insignia, POW bracelet and invitation for a commissioning ceremony for the guided missile ...
SPOTLIGHT: Woman to return POW bracelet to family
Albany Times Union
In this photo taken May 25, 2011, a POW bracelet worn by Lisa Hamble, of Mattoon, Ill., when she 11 years old to honor William P. Lawrence, ...
SPOTLIGHT: Woman to return POW bracelet to family
AP Photo/Journal Gazette, Kevin Kilhoffer In this photo taken May 25, 2011, Lisa Hamblen shows the ship insignia, POW bracelet and invitation for a ...
From: "Patrick J. Hughes" <email@example.com>
Subject: The burial of MIA pilot Major Bruce E. Lawrence MIA | July 5, 1968
Date: Tue, 27 Sep 2011 14:34:46 -0400
On Saturday, after 43 years missing pilot Major Bruce E. Lawrence was buried with full military honors.
The burial of MIA pilot Major Bruce E. Lawrence MIA | July 5, 1968
Patrick J. Hughes U.S.M.C. ChuLai 67-68
Rolling Thunder Inc. National Photographer
God Bless America