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Vice Admiral William P. “Bill” Lawrence, a distinguished veteran of the U.S. Navy who served his country with honor and distinction for over three decades, passed away on December 2, 2005, at the age of 75.
Born in Nashville, Tennessee, on January 13, 1930, Vice Admiral Lawrence was a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, where he began his journey to become a naval aviator.
Vice Admiral Lawrence flew countless missions as a Navy pilot, serving his country in several major conflicts, including the Korean War and the Vietnam War, during which he was taken as a Prisoner of War for six years. Despite the most adverse conditions, he remained steadfast in his devotion to the United States and provided exceptional leadership to his fellow prisoners of war.
Vice Admiral Lawrence’s courage, resourcefulness, and sound judgment are a testament to his unwavering commitment to upholding the highest traditions of the Naval Service and the United States Armed Forces. He was awarded numerous commendations and awards throughout his career, including four Distinguished Flying Crosses, two Silver Stars, and the Purple Heart.
After retiring from the Navy in 1986, Vice Admiral Lawrence continued to serve his country in various capacities, including as Superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy and as Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Manpower, Personnel, and Training. His contributions to the Navy and the nation will never be forgotten.
Vice Admiral Lawrence is survived by his wife, Diane Wilcox Lawrence, and their family. He was laid to rest at the U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery in Annapolis, Maryland, and his legacy lives on through the USS William P. Lawrence (DDG-110), a guided missile destroyer named in his honor.
bio of William Porter “Bill” Lawrence:
lawrence eagle tribune obituaries
|William Porter “Bill” Lawrence||75 (at time of passing)||Retired U.S. Navy Vice Admiral and Naval Aviator||Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the United States Naval Academy, National War College||Nashville, TN|
William Porter “Bill” Lawrence was born on January 13, 1930, in Nashville, Tennessee. He attended local schools before turning down a scholarship to Yale University to attend the United States Naval Academy, where he became a distinguished student academically and held several high-ranking midshipman offices.
After graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering in 1951, Lawrence became a Naval Aviator and served as an F2H Banshee pilot with VF-193 at NAS Moffett Field. He also attended the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School at the Naval Air Test Center, Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, where he received the Outstanding Student Award and became a test pilot.
In addition, Lawrence was a final candidate for the Mercury space program; however, the discovery of a bicuspid aortic valve during testing rendered him ineligible to be an astronaut.
During the Vietnam War, Lawrence served as the commanding officer of Fighter Squadron 143 aboard the aircraft carrier USS Constellation.
Despite facing repeated torture and beatings, Lawrence resisted his captors and developed effective communication methods with fellow prisoners.
He served in various capacities in the U.S. Navy, including as Superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy from 1978 to 1981. He retired from the Navy in 1986 after serving as Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Manpower, Personnel, and Training.
William Porter “Bill” Lawrence passed away on December 2, 2005, at the age of 75.