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Bill Lawton

Bill Lawton

  • Service Branch: United States Army
  • Service Dates: 1952–1954

Bill Lawton was drafted into the U.S.Army in 1952. He was on active duty from 1952 – 1954. Prior to being drafted, he attended Brown University where he received his Bachelor of Science degree. Continuing his education, Bill studied at the University of Kansas and eventually at the University of Maine where he received his master’s degree in microbiology.

During college he attended Platoon Leaders Class (PLC) which prepared him to become a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps. In lieu of joining the Marines, he was employed at a laboratory for a couple of years and was then drafted into the Army.

Although not literally kicking and screaming, he went to boot camp at Fort Dix, New Jersey leaving behind a pregnant wife. He found that his experience with his Platoon Leaders Class in college gave him a foot up on other recruits in that his Army basic training was easier to him because of the rigors of the Platoon Leaders Class.

Because of Bill’s academic credentials, he was deployed to Fort Detrick, MD where biomedical research was being conducted. He describes his time at Ft. Detrick as being a civilian who had to wear a military uniform on occasion. Most of his time was spent wearing white lab clothing. Thinking back to his training in the Platoon Leaders Class while in college, he considered his deployment at Ft. Detrick a blessing. He was informed that about 50% of his class members were killed in action in the first year of the Korean War.

His deployment at Ft. Detrick was interesting but was not without a joke or two being played on high-ranking military personnel. He remembers on one occasion there was a large parade of all of the troops with several generals in attendance. He, along with other lab workers, released about 100 lab mice onto the parade route causing quite a commotion.

After being honorably discharged from the military Bill stayed employed at Ft. Detrick for approximately 20 years. During a portion of that time he continued his education at George Washington University where he received his PhD.

Bill has lived at Londonderry since February 2023 and is loving life.

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