Leo H. Dawson, ca. 1910
Leo Henry Dawson was born November 8, 1893 in New Mexico.
He died January 29, 1962. in Los Altos, CA. Image, above,
from John Dawson Pierson (right sidebar). It shows Leo Dawson
as a youth on his father's ranch.
Leo H. Dawson During WWI, Date Unknown
His early combat exploits in France are recorded on the
web (see references, left). He downed 4 enemy aircraft during
WWI. He was a member of the famous 94th “Hat in the
On February 1, 1919 First Lieutenant Dawson, formerly 27th
and 94th Aero Squadrons, was awarded the Distinguished Service
Gross with Oak Leaf Cluster for action near Hortennes, France,
on 19 Jul 1918, and Clery-le-Petit, France, on 4 Nov 1918.
Pilot Dawson landed at Tucson six times between December
1927 and December 1930. He carried one passenger on five
of his flights, and flew Douglas and de Havilland aircraft.
His home base for each flight was March Field in Riverside,
CA. While most of his flights were to and from airports along
the southern tier of states, his last flight was a solo venture
between Rockwell Field, San Diego, CA and New York, NY in
a Douglas O-38.
“Who’s Who in Aviation” for 1942 identifies
him as a command pilot and combat observer. He learned to
fly in the U.S. Army Air Service 1917-18. His military record
includes his commission as 2nd Lieutenant from 1918-27, 1st
Lt. 1927-35, Captain 1935-40, Major 1940-41, Lt. Colonel
1941-42 and Colonel in 1942.
Later, Capt. Dawson became Commander
of the 94th “Hat
in the Ring” Squadron 31 Dec 1935 through 31 Dec 1937.
During WWI, Lt. Dawson flew aircraft like this Nieuport 28
of the 94 Aero Sqn, below.
Colonel Dawson had a presence in the Pacific at the end
of WWII. He was on the U.S.S. Missouri when the Japanese
surrendered, below. Dawson is immediately above and to the
left of General Wainright. According to his nephew, Dawson's mother circled his face with dark ink to be sure people could identify him!
After WWII Dawson was assigned to China. This PDF
download (1.25MB) exhibits a letter
that then Colonel Dawson wrote to his family from China
in 1948. The letter provides us with an intimate look at
the social "duties" of a high-ranking military officer
based in a foreign land, China at least. Near the end of
the letter "Mickey" is mentioned. Margaret Schreiner was
Leo's third and last wife. She was known by the family
UPLOADED: 09/23/05 REVISED: 06/14/07