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Capt. Lawrence E. Dickson crashes in Italy

Capt. Lawrence E. Dickson crashes in Italy

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Lt. Lawrence E. Dickson, 1943
Lt. Lawrence E. Dickson, 1943 (U.S. Air Force Historical Research Agency)

After nearly a year of successful missions, engine trouble forced Capt. Lawrence E. Dickson to parachute from his plane over Italy.

Dickson of Bronx, N.Y., graduated from flight training on March 25, 1943, at Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama. In December, he deployed to Italy with the 100th Fighter Squadron.

On Dec. 23, 1944, Dickson was part of a reconnaissance mission to Praha, Czechoslovakia, when engine trouble forced him to bail from his P-51 Mustang, nicknamed Peggin'.

"Capt. Dickson called to me over the radio and told me that he was about to bail out," 2nd Lt. Robert L. Martin wrote in a military report. "His canopy was jettisoned and the plane rolled over on its back. I did not see Capt. Dickson leave the plane and I was unable to observe a parachute because of the snow on the ground. Judging from the way in which the plane struck the ground, I do not believe the pilot (Dickson) was in the plane at the time of the crash."

Dickson's name is included on the Tablets of the Missing at the Florence American Cemetery and Memorial in Italy. According to a government database, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, an Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters and a Purple Heart for his military service.

 
 

Click on a name or map pin to learn more and see a video about each World War I and World War II cemetery. Also see America's national cemeteries.

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