This past September, John P. Lawlor, Jr. '83 was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General in the Army Reserve. He was initially commissioned as a Second Lieutenant of Infantry in 1987. Currently, Brigadier General Lawlor is the Director of Public Works and Facilities for Bloomfield, Connecticut.
"I was tremendously honored (to receive this promotion)," said John. "A tenth of a percentage of people get that far. I feel privileged to have succeeded and given the opportunities to excel."
John, a Waterbury native, came from a military family. His mother and father are Korean War veterans, serving in the U.S. Navy and Air Force, respectively. He joined the Army when he was 17. He credits his drill instructor in basic training for giving him his first glimpse at leadership.
He was commissioned through OCS as an Infantry Officer where he was "at the Platoon level and directly responsible for 25-40 individuals. You have the responsibility of leading those folks. I had some great Platoon Sergeants. They taught me a lot about the army and life."
Throughout his military career, John was deployed to Bosnia, Macedonia, Kosovo and Iraq. He was activated in October 1997 as part of the Combined Joint Civil Military Task Force, Sarajevo Bosnia-Herzegovina. He was the Aide-de-camp and Military Assistant to Chief of NATO Operations. He was deployed in 2003 during Operation Iraqi Freedom to serve as Public Works Team Chief for both 4th Infantry Division and then the 1st Infantry Division, responsible for infrastructure improvement projects and Ministry coordination throughout the north-central region of Iraq.
Serving in the military exceeded all of John's expectations. He credits his experiences in his development as a professional. "If it wasn't for the army, I wouldn't have pursued graduate school twice. I graduated with master's degrees in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College at Carlisle and Public Administration from Norwich University."
John has also seen incredible parts of the world; some in good and not-so-good circumstances. He liberated many people under adverse circumstances. John always goes back to his leadership skills whether he is on a peace-keeping mission or active combat.
"A good leader has an ethical base, a strong sense of self and faith in others.A leader facilitates a group into a particular direction or idea. A leader brings out the best in everyone so that the group can achieve a better good. Understanding and appreciating that has been tremendous for these 30+ years."
More than anything, Brigadier General John Lawlor is proud to serve his country alongside a dedicated group of men and women. "The folks that are in our armed services are the best this country has to offer," he said. "It is all volunteer. The people who join have a love of country and drive, which is to be commended."
John currently resides in Southington, CT with his wife Natalie Barone Lawlor.