A former lieutenant general became the subject of an internal investigation while he was on terminal leave- and it cost him one of his three stars.
Former Air Force Sustainment Center commander Lee Levy was a polarizing figure, known for having one of two personalities.
For some, Levy was “self-confident, articulate, charismatic, passionate, likeable [and] charming,” while others claimed that he “repeatedly, publicly and personally belittled and berated” members of his staff, who allegedly were “walking on eggshells” to avoid his wrath.
“I think if he was in the battlefield, he probably would’ve been shot in the back,” one Airman reportedly said during the IG report concerning Levy, which was released in March of this year.
Levy reportedly did not hold back his disdain towards those under his command with poor dietary habits, even making pig noises in public when a female subordinate ate a bit too much.
“Oink, oink, [redacted],” he said. “Are you really eating again?”
According to the Air Force Times, one Airman became so upset by Levy’s behavior that she was frequently in tears.
“There were a lot of nights when I would come home, just in tears or … just absolutely emotionally and mentally exhausted from the work,” she said. “After I worked for him and experienced that, it was more of, he’s the boogeyman that you just wanted to run away from.”
Levy claimed he was tough on his Airmen, but would never have gone as far as he did had his staff spoken up.
“I attempted to be tough but fair in my leadership style as we strove for excellence in everything we did,” Levy said. “Had concerns been voiced at the time, I would certainly have addressed the issue to resolve it. Unfortunately, those who are now complaining waited until I left command and was retiring.”
Levy also reportedly took loans from lower-ranking members, as well as other transgressions that cost him his third star.
While Levy was scheduled to retire on October 1, he was extended by former Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson and reassigned to the Pentagon until the investigation was completed.
On October 6, Levy was demoted to major general, As the law requires three-star generals to revert to major general after being out of command 60 days.
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