Spring Hill ex-parachuter receives honor award

A Spring Hill man was recently honored as the 2017 82nd Airborne-All American Medal of Honor Award Winner.

Mel Greene, a resident of Hernando County since 1992, was "shocked" when notified of the award at the 82nd Army Airborne Association Convention this past August in Orlando. Greene's honor included leading a parade of approximately 300 troops and Veterans through Disney World down Main Street in the Magic Kingdom. Later that night, Greene addressed the convention, attended by more than 700 people, where he received the special medallion and official honor award.

Mel Greene leading a parade of troops and Veterans down Main Street in the Magic Kingdom at Disney World, Orlando.

Originally from Hartford, CT, Greene served three years in the military from 1946 to 1949. He learned to pack a parachute and jump out of planes at Ft. Benning, GA and then spent the balance of his Army career at Ft. Bragg, NC.

" I never was sent overseas," says Greene from his Spring Hill home where he has lived alone since his wife Judith died three years ago. "My real service was after I was discharged from the Army in my work with the Airborne Association."

That comment by Greene is an understatement as his "work" went way beyond the call of duty, according to Bill Bauer executive director of the AAA in North Carolina. Bauer added, "Mel Greene, over six decades, has always lent dignity and honor to the Association as a member and supporter. Greene has held many positions with the AAA, including chapter chairman, national director, and president, as well as helping to establish numerous Association chapters."

Greene, after his Army stint, moved to Miami and established a photography studio with clients in Dade County and in South America. He and his wife came to Spring Hill in 1992, where his late daughter lived, "to get out of the way of Andrew." That evacuation led to the Greenes moving to Hernando County where he has lived ever since.

Honoree Mel Greene, far right, at the convention with, l to r, Danny Greene (Mel's son), Major General Eric Kurvilla, the commander of the 82nd Airborne Division; and LaGena Greene (Danny Greene's wife)

Still spry, fit, and in good mental and physical shape, the 90-year-old Greene looks like he could strap on the parachute and leap out of a plane. But he has more sense, enjoying his retirement and sticking to the ground while enjoying an active social life in the Hernando County area and continuing to provide outstanding service to the 82nd Army Airborne Association.