Retired Air Force Lt. Col. David A. Greene, a medical malpractice attorney and combat veteran of both World War II and the Vietnam War, died after a long illness Wednesday at the Long Island State Veterans Home in Stony Brook. He was 91.
Greene was born in Manhattan and had wanted to be a pilot since he was 5 years old, his family said.
He graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School in Brooklyn and in 1943 joined the Army Air Corps, graduating from navigation school the following year. He was assigned to the 392nd Bomb Group of the 8th Air Force, in Wendling, England, and flew his first mission on June 6, 1944, also known as D-Day, his family said. He flew 30 combat missions during the next seven months.
In 1947, he returned to the United States and joined the Air Force Reserves. He received his bachelor of science degree from New York University in 1949 and graduated from Brooklyn Law School in 1951. Afterward, he began his career in law. He retired from Siben and Siben in Bay Shore in 2002.
Greene's first marriage ended in divorce. He met his second wife, Renee Strum, in 1962 on a blind date. They were married that year in Manhattan, at the Park Sheraton hotel, and lived in Bayside, New Rochelle and Smithtown before settling in Middle Island.
In 1968, he was recalled to active duty and flew missions out of Mildenhall, England, to support NATO forces in Vietnam, his family said. After about 18 months, he returned to the U.S. and resumed his law practice.
During his time in the Air Force, he received the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with five oak leaf clusters, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, and other honors, Renee Strum Greene said.
After his retirement, Greene was active in many organizations, including the 8th Air Force Historical Society; the Southern Wing Chapter of the 392nd Bomb Group, which he joined in 1947 and served as vice president; the Birchwood Veterans Group, of which he was president; the American Legion Aviators Post #743; and the Jewish War Veterans Post #336, his wife said.
"He was a very busy guy," said Renee Strum Greene. "Just being a member was pride enough for him."
David Greene also enjoyed golf, which he had been playing since he was young. He would play on community courses such as Birchwood at Spring Lake, and was a member of the Island Hills Golf Club in Sayville. He also won several trophies in golf tournaments, she said.
In addition to his wife of 51 years, he is survived by their two children, Andrea Goldman of Plainview and Spencer Greene of Houston, Texas; and three children from his first marriage, Claudi Greene of Jerusalem, Israel; Ronni Nichol of Pensacola, Fla.; and Abbi Dubose of Pensacola, Fla.
Services were held Friday at Hale & Lynch Funeral Home in Middle Island. Greene was buried at Calverton National Cemetery. Donations in his memory can be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, the family said.