From 1917 to 1918 Lawton attended Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He then transferred to the United States Military Academy, from which he graduated in 1922. In 1923 Lawton graduated from both the Army"s Primary Flying School and its Advanced Flying School Special Observation Course.
Lawton graduated from the Artillery School Battery Officer Course in 1930.
In 1939 Lawton graduated from both the Chemical Warfare Field Officer Course and the Command and General Staff College.
Start of Military After completing his aviator qualification, Lawton was assigned to Coastal Artillery Corps postings, including Fort Adams, Rhode Island. He then carried out Coastal Artillery postings throughout the United States and overseas, including the 61st Coast Artillery Battalion at Fort Sheridan, Illinois, assignment to the Philippines, and a tour of duty at Fort Winfield Scott. He was present at Pearl Harbor attack, and later gave Congressional testimony about his experience and observations.
In 1947 Lawton was appointed Assistant Commandant of the Army"s Field Artillery School and Commandant of the school"s Seacoast Branch.
Lawton was appointed to command the Korean Communication Zone in 1953, and served in this position until 1954. In 1955 Lawton was assigned as Director of the Budget Division in the Army" General’ s Office of the Comptroller.
Lawton was named Comptroller of the Army in 1957, serving until his retirement from the military. From 1958 to 1959 General Lawton served as President of the Association of Military Comptrollers.
After leaving the Army Lawton resided in Bethesda, Maryland.
He accepted a position as Vice President and Vice Chairman of the Board for Government Loan Services Savings and Loan Association, Incorporated., where he remained until retiring in the 1980s. In 1989 Lawton moved to the Fairfax retirement community at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, where he died February 26, 1993.
In this high profile rear echelon command Lawton took steps to improve the perception of the United States military among South Korean civilians by implementing Operation Good Will, a successful effort to generate from members of the United States military and American civilians contributions of money and other needed items for orphanages, schools and other institutions.