He was promoted to First Lieutenant on 22 January 1943 and received permanent ran of First Lieutenant on 29 May 1945, before being proclaimed legally deceased, missing in action (Public Law Sec. 3320). On 19 June 1944, 1stLt Lawler's P-40N11, Curtiss Aircraft Warhawk, # 42-105946, assigned to 10th Air Force, 8th Reconnaisance Group, 20th Tactical Reconnaisance Squadron, at an airfield at Kissel Bari, Assam Pradesh, India, provided escort for a B-25 Mitchell on a photo reconnaissance mission in rough weather (monsoon season). It was last sighted in the vicinity of 26º 27’ North 96º 15’ East at about 1055 hours India Standard Time. The fighter became separated from the B-25 while passing through clouds at 11,500 feet altitude. It was last seen by Capt. Angus Ferguson Lytch, Jr. He is remembered on the wall at the Manila American Cemetery, Philippines. He was awarded the Air Medal and the Purple Heart posthumously.
His brother, Jack D. Lawler, born on 20 June 1917, (graduated in 1939, University of Illinois, Journalism (News & Editorial), R.O.T.C., University Brigade Captain, Pershing Rifles, Alpha Tau Sigma) was a U.S. Army, Captain (1941-1945), # 0-380142, journalist covering the European Theater in WW II. He volunteered to jump with Airborne Infantry (17th Airborne Division, 513th Parachute Infantry Regiment) paratroopers on 24 March 1945. After the jump, his parachute was caught in a tree and, unable to escape, a German soldier shot and killed him.