Object Type: Record
In Collection: Oral History Digital Collection
Oral history.; Interview conducted on August 6, 2003. Born in December of 1922 in Orange, New Jersey, Colonel Lawrence E. Roberts grew up about twenty-five miles west of New York City. Colonel Roberts attended Howard University, received his bachelor of science degree from Morningside College, and received his master's degree from Tuskegee Institute. He entered the United States Army Air Corps as a private, and he retired from the United States Air Force as a colonel. He was a graduate of the Forty-four K class of the prestigious Tuskegee Airmen. His first assignment was the pilot training program at Tuskegee Army Airfield where he graduated as a second lieutenant and was assigned to the 477th Medium Bombardment Group and later the 332d Fighter Wing. Among the nineteen service medals and awards received during his service career are the Legion of Merit with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the United States Force Commendation Medal, and the Distinguished Service Order and Air Service Medal received from the Republic of Vietnam. Colonel Roberts served in numerous flying, technical and command assignments in the continental United States and Japan, Canada, Turkey, and Vietnam. This service included duty as a jet fighter pilot in the Air Defense Command and as a flight instructor at the fighter school at Williams Air Force Base, Ground Electronics Officer in Japan and Canada, Chief of Ground Communication-Electronics and Meteorological Maintenance at an Air Division Headquarters, Department Chief for Ground Electronics and Officer Training at Keesler Air Force Base, Commander of a NATO communications organization and Chief Communications- Electronics and Logistics Advisor to the Vietnamese Air Force Headquarters, and Commander of the Maintenance and Supply Group at Keesler Air Force Base. After retirement from the United States Air Force, he worked for Global Associates at the National Space Technology Laboratories. Colonel Roberts was very involved both in his church and in his community. He was a former member and vice moderator of the General Assembly Council, Presbyterian Church USA; former member and chair of the council of the Presbytery of Mississippi; and an elder, First Presbyterian Church, USA, of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. Colonel Roberts' community activities include being a member of the board of trustees, Leadership Gulf Coast, former member and chair of the board of trustees for Pass Christian School District; former member and chair of the executive board of the Mississippi School Boards Association; former member and chair of the southern region of the School Boards Association; and director of the Genesis Foundation. On Tuesday, October 12, 2004, Colonel Lawrence E. Roberts, USAF, Retired, died in Biloxi, Mississippi, at eighty-one years of age. He had been a resident of the Mississippi Gulf Coast for thirty-five years, living in Pass Christian and Biloxi.