North High School Wall of Honor
Robert Dale Lawson
Class of June, 1946
Research done by Claradell Shedd, class of 1953.
Robert Dale Lawson
Robert Dale Lawson graduated from North High in the June, 1946 class. Scholastically he ranked 113 in the class of 216. His next of kin was shown as Mr. Waldo J. Lawson living at 3514 Second Avenue, Des Moines, IA.

On August 12, 1946, Bob enlisted at the US Recruiting Office in the Old Federal Building located by the Polk County Court House at 5th and Court in Des Moines and was assigned to the First Marine Air Wing. At the time of enlistment, Bob was single with no dependents. Bob's service number was 627526.
Robert Dale Lawson
Year x Rank/Event x Status
August 12, 1946 x Enlisted
US Marines
x Enlisted at US Recruiting Office in the Old Federal Building located by the Polk County Court House at 5th and Court in Des Moines.
August, 1946 x US Marines x Boot camp at San Diego, CA
boot camp
x US Marines x While in boot camp, he volunteered to be part of "Recruit Marines" from the North High Swim Team in Des Moines which trained after hours for the 11th Naval District swimming championships. We won it for the Recruit Depot. Bob won the Individual Medley Sprint Championship.
1947 x x *Following graduation and after a ten-day leave, Bob joined El Toro, 1st MAW (Marine Air Wing), Headquarters Squadron , Special Services with camp newspaper, "Flight Jacket" as writer and cartoonist. Contributed in cartooning and had a hand in the final drawing of the camp mascot, "the Flying Bull." (shown below with insignias/patches) In 1945, Congress had designated the 1st MAW permanent home at El Toro, West Coast Marine Corps Air Station. Bob remained there until lplaced on inactive duty in March, 1948. While at El Toro, he again joined the base swimming team, taking part in AAU and Open Swim meets in Southern California. He was once again a member of El Toro's winning 11th Naval District Swimming Championships.
March, 1948 x US Marines/Cpl x Released from active duty as an inactive reservist.
Sept. 4, 1948 x Family x Bob met and married Gerry Smith and are still shared their lives together for over 63 years.
March, 1948-October, 1950 x x x Bob enrolled in classes at Drake University. Carried as many hours as possible toward teaching and coaching degree, but when trouble erupted in Korea, Bob was recalled to active duty. Faced with digging a fox hole in solid rock or enjoying a moving fox hole, Bob joined the newly-formed 7th Tank Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, FMF-PAC. He joined 7th Tanks in Headquarters Company at **Camp Pendleton, Oceanside, CA and, when enough men were assigned, they moved training to Camp Pendleton to train the Letter Companies as overseas replacements. Using both M-26 and the newer M-46, the training went so well that the Big Brass decided plans for the 3rd Division were dropped and all were reassigned to the 1st Marine Division. Bob was reassigned to Special Services as Recreational Director for the Letter Companies in training. Qualified as "expert" with an M-1 rifle on range during Korean training (only 4 shots out of bull's eye at 500 yards).
date x Schooling x Drake University, BSE, MA in Education
October, 1951 x Discharged x Released from active duty and discharged
1955-1990 x Civilian x Teaching and coaching at North High School
1990 x Induction x Inducted into the North High Athletic Hall of Fame
2010 x Civilian x Relocated to Las Vegas, NV
Aug. 25, 2011 x Deceased x Las Vegas, NV. To be eventually interred at Veterans Cemetery, Van Meter, IA. Date now set for May 18, 2012.
*El Toro, CA
Into 1945, El Toro continued the training of fighter, scout-bomber, and torpedo-bomber pilots. At the end of March, 266 aircraft were on hand including 21 Convair OY Sentinel artillery spotters in a temporary storage pool. In May, VMF-217 arrived from the South Pacific for reorganization and training for escort carrier duty. By June, the training of Grumman F6F Hellcat replacement pilots had begun. The Navy needed the Corsairs for anti-Kamikaze duty on board Essex Class carriers and gave the Marines the Hellcat for the escort carrier program. In July, VMTB-453 was formed for escort carrier duty. The war ended with almost 400 aircraft pre sent. From a former bean field, El Toro had grown to a station of 4,000 acres, 9.2 miles of roads, 660,000-sq. yd. of runways and taxiways, 139,281 sq. yd. of aircraft ramps, a 10-mile water system, and a 10-mile sewer system.

Following the war, the Marines used El Toro for the decommissioning of squadrons and demobilization of personnel. In October 1946, the headquarters of the Commander of Marine Air West Coast moved to El Toro from Miramar. El Toro was scheduled to close by May 31, 1947, but the plan changed. Miramar closed instead and El Toro was selected to be the center for Marine aviation on the West Coast. The station's runways were extended for jet operations. In 1949, the First Marine Air Wing and the command unit, Aircraft, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific arrived at El Toro and were consolidated.

**Camp Pendleton
The Battalion reactivated 1 October 1949 at Camp Pendleton, California, as the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force. It was redesignated 7 July 1950 as the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Provisional Marine Brigade, Fleet Marine Force. It deployed during August 1950 to Korea , and was redesignated 13 September 1950 as the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force. the unit participated in the Korean War Operating from Pusan Perimeter, Inchon-Seoul, Chosin Reservoir, East Central Front, and Western Front. It participated in the defense of the Korean Demilitarized Zone from July 1953 to February 1955. The Battalion relocated during March 1955 to Camp Pendleton, California.

Division Assignments
1946-1948 At enlistment was assigned to First Marine Air Wing on August 12, 1946 until release on March 17, 1948 to inactive duty.
1950-1951 Recalled to active duty on October 5, 1950. Assigned to newly-formed 7th Tank Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, FMF-PAC.
1951-1951 Battalion became permanent training battalion in Spring of 1951 and was reassigned to the 1st Marine Division and remained until discharge on November 13, 1951.
Dates of Service; Active and Inactive
Enlistment August 12, 1946
to Inactive March 17, 1948
Total Active Duty 1 year, 7 mon, 5 da
Recalled to Active October 12, 1950
Retd Inactive; Discharged November 13, 1950
Total Active Duty 1 year, 1 mo, 1 da
Total Active Duty 2 years, 8 mo, 7 da
Total Enlistment; Active & Inactive 5 years, 3 mos, 1 da
Camp Pendleton, CA Drake logo left above: Training at Camp Pendleton;
Drake: Graduate and undergraduate
degrees from Drake
left below: Enlisted at Federal Building in Des Moines
right below: El Toro, CA
Old Federal Building and Post Office, Des Moines El Toro, CA
left; Fall, 1946:
PVT Donald Jean Heimbaugh,
PVT Walter Jay Conkey, Jr.,
PVT Robert Dale Lawson
Below: Lawson Cartoons
US Marine Corps Seal
1st Marine Division/Korea

3rd Marine Division

USMC San Diego, CA
Robert "Bob" Dale Lawson
1st Marine Air Wing
Third Division FMF
First Division FMF
US Marine Corps

Robert "Bob" Dale Lawson

1st Marine Air Wing

USMC; Camp Pendleton, CA

Marine Corps Air Station; El Toro, CA

Marine Corporal
WWII Victory Medal; National Defense Medal; American Campaign Medal; Marine Good Conduct Medal; Korean Defense Service Medal; United Nations Service Medal/Korea; Korean Service Medal

Rifle Expert

World War II Victory Medal; National Defense Medal; American Campaign Medal;
Marine Good Conduct Medal; Korean Defense Service Medal;
United Nations Service Medal/Korea; Korean Service Medal
Rifle Expert Badge/M-1
The comprehensive list of names from North High's 1893-2018 graduation classes are from Claradell Shedd's North Des Moines High School website. The names of all North High School graduates can be found online at Robert Dale Lawson's class page can be viewed at
07/30/11: Relocated to Las Vegas, NV in 2010. Died 08/25/11.
Music: "Semper Fidelis"
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