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Major George Howard Levert USAR (Ret)

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Joined: Aug 21 2003
Posts: 2223
Location: Hayden, AL

PostPosted: Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:39 am    Post subject: Major George Howard Levert USAR (Ret) Reply with quote

Major George Howard Levert USAR (Ret)
December 1939 -
Centreville, Bibb County, Alabama

Maj. Levert enlisted on 4 September 1956 in the Alabama Army National Guard in Centreville, Alabama as a Private (E-1). By the time of his discharge date of 7 March 1961, to transfer to active duty, he had reached the rank of Sgt (E-5). During his time in the NG he was one of only 5 in this company of 105+- personnel to qualify for Airborne training. He attended Jump School at Ft. Benning, Georgia from 9 Jun to 1 Jul 1960 and was awarded his Airborne wings.

His first active duty was basic training at Ft. Benning, Georgia where upon completion he stayed on as a drill instructor. In late 1961 or early 1962 he transferred to Ft. Bragg, North Carolina to the 82nd Airborne Division for possible duty in Berlin, Germany. During a practice jump with 9 aircraft, he was able to catch and hold a friend, whose parachute did not open, thus saving his friend’s life. They landed safely with the only injury being a very bad cut/burn on Sgt. Levert’s hand.

He was transferred to Wies Baden, Germany where he served from May of 1962 until May of 1965. He was a parachute rigger in the last unit of the 11th Airborne Division. He was injured on a jump, offered a medical discharge, and declined it.

At that time he transferred back to Ft. Bragg to the “Special Warfare Center. Sgt. Levert was in the first group to test parachuting from jet powered aircraft, as well as jumping and dropping equipment from helicopters and fixed wing aircraft.

During 1966, Sgt. Levert became frustrated with doing his Lieutenant’s work for a sergeant’s pay. When discussing his situation with his wife, she suggested he become an officer. He applied for and was accepted to the Officers’ Candidate School at Ft. Lee, Virginia. On 9 February 1967, after 23 weeks, he was commissioned a 2nd Lt. (O-1). 2nd Lt. Levert’s next duty post was Ft. Devins, Mass., where he was an adviser to a U.S. Army Reserve unit. One reservist (a famous baseball player of the time) was not attending drill as required. He was warned but continued to miss drill. According to regulations, Lt. Levert transferred the reservist to Active Duty status. Lt. Levert received a phone call from Sen. “Tip” O’Neil requesting special consideration for the reservist, who was a constituent. The request was refused and the player was soon transferred out of Lt. Levert’s reserve unit. While Sen. O’Neil continued to call, almost monthly, checking on other voters in his state, he never again asked for special treatment for any of them.

In March of 1968, Levert was promoted “early” (not enough time in grade yet) to 1st Lt. (O-2) and shipped to Viet Nam. Upon arriving, he was assigned as commanding officer of the 59th Field Service Unit. In addition to this job, 3 months later he was given command of a second company. They acted as forward support for the 173rd Airborne and the 4th Infantry Division. The 59th provided food, clothing, bakery, property disposal, laundry, and graves registration to supported units and elements to the Army of South Korea.

In 1969, after one year, he was promoted to Captain (O-3) and transferred to the Yuma Proving Grounds, in Yuma, Arizona. During this duty assignment, various tests were conducted pertaining to Airborne and weapons operations.

In 1971 Capt. Levert attended the Quartermaster Officer Advanced Course for 31 weeks at Ft. Lee, Virginia. Upon graduation, he was assigned by the QM office to an Artillery Battalion at Key West, Florida.

In 1974 he went to Thailand for one year as a transportation officer. In 1975 he returned to the U.S. and took over the duty of Logistics Officer for the Military Police Brigade at Ft. McClellan, Alabama. The school was in the process of relocating from Ft. Gordon, Georgia. While he lacked the full co-operation from Ft. McClellan officials, he did complete his assignment on time.

On 1 September 1977 he received his promotion to the rank of Major (O-4).

Parts of 1978 and 1979 were spent in Korea in charge of plans to re-supply to the South Korean Army during war time. He returned to Ft. McClellan in late 1979 with the intention of retiring. However, his service was “in-voluntarily extended” due to a “lack of adequate replacement”. Even though he was being considered for promotion to Lt. Colonel (O-5), on 30 November 1981 he retired.

During the 25 plus years that Maj. Levert served on active duty and with the Alabama Army National Guard, he made over 100 parachute training jumps in the U.S., France, Germany, North Africa, and Turkey. He served as a drill instructor, 3.5 Rocket Launcher instructor, and tested the AR-15 rifle for use by the army after it was adopted by the U.S. Air Force. It was discovered when jumping from aircraft, the barrels sometime bent on impact with the ground, rendering the weapon useless. The barrel was made heavier and the rifle was adopted and known most famously today, as the M-16A1. Maj. Levert’s service included jumping from various types of test aircraft and the testing of different parachutes for dropping equipment from various heights. He was issued all small arms in use during this period. M-1 Garand (.30-06 caliber), M-1 Carbine (.30 Caliber carbine), 1911A1 .45 auto pistol (.45 a.c.p. caliber), and the M-14 (.308 NATO caliber) rifle which was a modified Garand. While in Viet Nam he was assigned the M-14 but actually carried a M1911A1 .45 auto and an M-1 Carbine.

As a result of his exemplary service he received the following awards:

Good Conduct Medal (2nd Award), Master Parachutist Badge, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Overseas Service Bar, Bronze Star Medal (awarded for service in Vietnam from March 1968 to March 1969), Army Commendation Medal (1 Oak Leaf Cluster), Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry W/Palm (Unit Citation), Overseas Service Ribbon (2), Army Service Ribbon, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, and Meritorious Service Medal (1 Oak Leaf Cluster).

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