• phillipsburg
  • Warren
  • January 12, 1943
  • July 05, 1968
  • Air Force
  • RANK:
  • MAJ
  • RR
  • North Vietnam


Bruce Edward Lawrence was born on January 12, 1943, the son of Edna Geisner and Robert E. Lawrence.  His home of record is Phillipsburg, NJ.  He had a sister, Barbara and a brother, Richard. 

He attended Phillipsburg High School and graduated in 1960.  He served as class officer for three years and participated in varsity football, basketball and baseball.  Upon graduation, he enrolled at Rutgers University and graduated with a Bachelors of Science degree in 1965.  While at Rutgers, he was awarded two varsity letters in football and became a member of Beta Theta Pi fraternity. Lawrence was a member of the Grace Lutheran Church in Phillipsburg.

He enlisted in the US Air Force on October 10, 1965 from Phillipsburg, NJ. Lawrence graduated Officer Training School at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas and took Pilot Training at Crag Air Force Base in Alabama. He attained the rank of Major (MAJ).  He served with the 557 Tactical Fighter Sq. Cam Ranh Bay AB VS unit. 

On July 5, 1968, Lawrence’s plane was hit and crashed to the ground.  Since no remains were recovered, he was considered missing in action. In 1978, ten years after being declared missing in action, Lawrence’s status was changed to killed in action. He was posthumously promoted to Major. Lawrence’s remains were identified in 2011. His remains were repatriated on September 23, 2011 and are buried at the Raubsville Pennsylvania Cemetery.

He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with three Bronze Service Starts, Air Force Outstanding Unit Aware with Valor and one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with three Bronze Stars, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medals.

There is a memorial at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ dedicated to the graduates who were killed or missing in action from the Vietnam War.  Lawrence’s name is listed among those missing in action.

Synopsis (from the POW Network) as to the circumstances behind being listed as MIA:

On July 5, 1968, Major Lawrence was the co-pilot of an F-4C aircraft that was on an armed reconnaissance mission in North Vietnam when his plane was hit by hostile anti-aircraft fire.  Their wingman observed their aircraft turn into a large fireball with streaks of fire trailing out of the bottom, followed by a second smaller explosion.  There were no parachutes observed and no beepers heard.  Intense hostile fire prevented a daylight search of the area.  Both airmen were declared missing in action.

Sources: Richard Lawrence (brother), POW Network and NJVVMF.


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