Warren G. Lawson, 55BSC, former Adjutant General of Iowa, has never been one to step back from a battle. From the 1954 Hawkeye gridiron as Most Valuable Player to the Vietnam combat zone to commander of Iowas Army and Air National Guard, Lawson has been the epitome of a leader who goes above and beyond the call.
Lawson returned to his native Iowa in 1979 after retiring from the U.S. Army with nearly 25 years of distinguished service. Appointed the Iowa National Guards Deputy Adjutant General, he served in that capacity until 1985, when he was appointed Adjutant General. During his 20 years in state government, Lawson became well-known for his many achievements, chief among them a revitalized Iowa National Guard, strengthened disaster response and emergency management, and selfless community outreach and public service.
Lawson inherited a Guard that had not been performing well. Convinced the answer resided in better training, Lawson envisioned the design and construction of the Iowa National Guards State Area Command (STARC) Armory Complex at Camp Dodge, where the high-tech facilities of the Guards headquarters gave rise to innovative training opportunities.
Lawson was among the first to demonstrate the power of the Iowa Communications Networks (ICN), a state-owned 3,800-mile fiber optic network that links more than 630 sites around the state. He installed the ICNs interactive video system at all of his Guard units, and, furthermore, he shared his enthusiasm with Iowa communities by providing public access to interactive video at all Guard posts across the state. Now the Iowa National Guard has training capabilities unmatched by any other National Guard in the country.
The credit for Iowas quick and comprehensive recovery from emergencies is due, in large part, to Lawsons leadership. Lawson successfully directed Iowas Emergency Response System in a host of floods, tornadoes, and winter storms and he earned national acclaim for the response to and mitigation efforts for the United 232 air crash in Sioux City, the Terra Chemical Plant explosion, and the historic 1993 floods that ravaged the state.
While the Guard has long supported Boy Scout activities, Lawson expanded the scope of the Guards community outreach. Today, the Guard sponsors weeklong summer camps for hundreds of schoolchildren, who learn about leadership, goal setting skills, and self-esteem. In addition, the Iowa Guards anti-drug abuse program, initiated under Lawson to work hand-in-hand with local law enforcement efforts, exists as one of best in the country.
Called an officer and gentleman of highest order by Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, Lawson has received numerous military awards and decorations, including the Distinguished Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, and the Humanitarian Service Medal.
Lawson is a life member of the UI Alumni Association.