Herman “Ace” Lawson was apart of the first group of replacement pilots for the 99th Fighter Squadron. He along with other members of the 99th Squadron were mistakenly sent to Brazil. The mistake took and completed a total of 133 missions overseas, flying P-40s, P47s, and P-51s before he returned to Tuskegee.
Before joining the military, Lawson had quite the reputation for being an athlete and photographer. He earned the nickname “Ace” as a football player at Marysville High School in California. He learned to build and fly real gliders, which aided in his eventual selection as a military pilot.
Lawson was one of the first blacks in northern California to receive a Private Pilot Certificate. After having served in the Civilian Conservation Corps for a year, “Ace” entered Fresno State at which he was an outstanding athlete-Collegiate Light Heavyweight Boxing Champion for two years. He also was the first black to play four years of football at Fresno State, and a letterman in Basketball and Track. He also served as a professional photographer for the school.
As a First Lieutenant, Lawson was Flight Leader, 99th Fighter Squadron, 332 Fighter Group. Herman “Ace” Lawson earned several combat awards for his services around the world.
Cooper, Charlie & Ann. Tuskegee Heroes. New York: Crestline, 2015. Print.
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