Inductee Details

  < Back
Lt. Gen. William S. Lawton

Lt. Gen. William S. Lawton

(1900-1993) ~ Inducted 1989

Lieutenant General Lawton was native of Newport who later lived in Bethsesda, MD. His distinguished military career spanned forty years with service in WWII and the Korean War.  He was a highly decorated U.S. Army Officer, and held key staff positions throughout his career following graduation from Westpoint in 1922.  He retired in the 1960's from Comptroller of the Army.

Lawton was born on May 16, 1900, in Newport, and graduated from Rogers High School in 1917. He then attended Worcester Polytechnic Institute,  later transferringto the United States Military Academy, from which he graduated in 1922. The following year, Lawton graduated from both the Army's Primary Flying School and its Advanced Flying School Special Observation Course.After completing his aviator qualification, Lawton was assigned to Coastal Artillery Corps postings, including Fort Adams in his native Newport.

In 1930, he graduated from the Artillery School Battery Officer Course and then carried out Coastal Artillery postings throughout the US and overseas. He continued to study and in 1939, graduated from both the Chemical Warfare Field Officer Course and the Command and General Staff College.

During World War II, Lawton served as Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army's Hawaiian Department. He was present at Pearl Harbor during the attack, and later gave Congressional testimony about his experience and observations. From 1943-1946 he remained stationed in Hawaii as Deputy Chief of Staff US Army Forces Mid-Pacific.

In the years following the war, Lawton continued to serve in the Army. He was appointed Assistant Commandant of the Army's Field Artillery School and Commandant of the school's Seacoast Branch in 1947. From 1950 to 1951 Lawton served as Chief of Staff of Army Field Forces.In 1952 Lawton was assigned as Deputy Chief of Staff for Civil Relations at the US Far East Command, serving until 1953.

Lawton distinguished himself further during the Korean War, as commander of the Korean Communication Zone in 1953. During this time, Lawton took steps to improve the perception of the US military among South Korean civilians by implementing Operation Good Will, a successful effort to generate from members of the US military and American civilians contributions of money and other needed items for orphanages, schools and other institutions. He served in this position until 1954.

Following the Korean War, Lawton was assigned as Director of the Budget Division in the Army's Office of the Comptroller. He was named Comptroller of the Army in 1957, serving until his retirement from the military. From 1958 to 1959 General Lawton served as President of the Association of Military Comptrollers.

General Lawton retired in 1960. His awards and decorations included multiple awards of the Distinguished Service Medal and the Legion of Merit, as well as the Bronze Star Medal. He never returned to his native state, choosing to settle in the Washington, D.C. area. Though he retired from the military, Lawton was not finished working. He accepted a position as Vice President and Vice Chairman of the Board for Government Loan Services Savings and Loan Association, Inc., reamaining until retiring in the 1980s.



See more inductees in:

- Military

< Go back



Search Inductees
Browse through our collection of 750+ amazing Rhode Islanders:

Search by Name or Keyword:

Area of Accomplishment:

African Americans | Agriculture / Farming | Architects & Designers | Artists & Painters | Banking / Finance | Business / Entrepreneurs | Civic Leaders | Civil Engineer | Civil Rights / Abolitionists | Clergy | Craftsmen | Dance | Econonomics / Theory | Education & Universities | Entertainment Development | Explorers & Adventurers | Famous RI Families | Food / Culinary | Founders of Rhode Island | Government & Politics | Historians/Historical Accounts, Preservation | Immigrants: Chinese | Immigrants: Irish | Immigrants: Portuguese | Industry - General | Industry - Jewelry | Industry - Maritime | Industry - Textiles | Inventors & Inventions | Labor / Unions | Law / Legal Pioneers | Literature / Writers / Newspapers | Medicine & Health Care | Military | Music (Singers, Composers) | Native Americans | Olympic Athletes | Philanthropists | Religion & Churches | Retail Pioneers | Rogues | Sports - Baseball | Sports - Basketball | Sports - Football | Sports - Golf | Sports - Hockey | Sports - Other | Sports - Tennis | Sports - Track and Field | Technology & Science | Theater | TV & Radio | Women |

Browse Years of Induction: