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Melvin L. Greene ( Missoula 1942 )

posted: Aug 13, 2014

Melvin "Smoke" Greene, Colonel, USAF (Ret.), died January 20, 2014, at age 95. He was born April 12, 1918, in Columbia Falls, MT. Smoke graduated from Talbott H.S. in Columbia Falls and worked for the Forest Service as a teenager in Montana. He started college at the School of Mines in Butte before joining the smokejumpers in 1942.

In 1943 he left college early to join the Army Air Corps. He was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant and trained as a Flight Engineer on the new B-29s flying from Guam in the Pacific. On his sixth mission in April 1945, his plane was hit by a kamikaze pilot over Nagoya, Japan. After parachuting from the plane, he was captured and spent the remainder of the war as a POW in Omori Prison near Tokyo. Smoke continued his military career retiring as a full colonel in 1972 after 29 years of service.

In 1986 his wife, Martha, died and he relocated from Austin to the Air Force Village in San Antonio where he lived for the next 22 years before moving back to Austin in 2008 where he later died of natural causes.