By Staff Sgt. C. Todd Lopez
WASHINGTON (Oct. 07, 2006) -- A former member of the Army Air Corps was honored here Oct. 6 by members of the Air Force weather community for his contributions to the World War II D-Day invasion.
Dr. Eugene Levine was 18 years old when he was drafted into the Army. During his time with the Army, Dr. Levine served as a combat weather observer for the 82nd Airborne Division and crewmember aboard glider aircraft.
Dr. Levine was also instrumental in delivering communications equipment to the 82nd Airborne Division during the D-Day invasion of France, June 6, 1944.
During the ceremony, Brig. Gen. Lawrence Stutzriem, the director of Air Force weather operations, addressed Dr. Levine's family, speaking highly of the former Army private.
"Your husband and your father, to the Air Force weather community, is a hero," General Stutzriem said. "You need to know that."
During the ceremony, Dr. Levine was presented with an American flag, a shadow box, an assortment of military coins and a 60th anniversary D-Day medallion.
Dr. Levine said he was honored by the attention given by members of the Air Force weather community.
"It means a tremendous amount, because it's an occasion that only comes once, once in my lifetime," he said. "And to have all these feelings of appreciation for what I did, I have to think back and appreciate everyone coming here and listening to me and my history during WWII. It has just been a marvelous occasion. It couldn't be better."
Dr. Levine also said he is impressed with today's technical advancements made in weather forecasting and the professionalism and dedication of today's Air Force weather community.
The presentation of mementos and honor bestowed upon him came more than two years late. Originally, the doctor was going to be honored at an international commemoration of D-Day in Europe.
In 2004, some 60 years after the Allied invasion of France, the U.S. Army Europe served as host to the 60th Anniversary of D-Day Commemoration Ceremony. Many military units, including the Air Force's 7th Weather Squadron, participated in the event.
As part of the 7th WS's contribution, Staff Sgts. John Lee and Joel Decker participated in a re-enactment of the D-Day airborne assault. The two sergeants parachuted into St. Mere Eglise, France.
During the jump, Sergeant Lee carried a U.S. flag, a 60th anniversary D-Day medallion and an assortment of coins and memorabilia. The flag and medallion were intended to be presented to Dr. Levine, but he was unable to attend the event.
Sergeant Lee and Sergeant Decker, both members of the Air Force weather community, were instrumental in rescheduling the ceremony for the "hero."