Members of the “Greatest Generation,” those veterans who saved Europe and Asia from tyranny, are still with us. Recently, one of them, 92-year-old World War II veteran and Roslyn Heights resident Dr. Lewis Licht, was inducted into the New York State Senate’s Veterans’ Hall of Fame. Licht
was named to the Hall of Fame by State Senator Jack Martins.
“Like so many of the ‘Greatest Generation,’ Lewis Licht answered the call to defend our country in World War II,” Martins said. “Time and time again, he bravely risked his life in the skies over the Pacific to defeat the forces of tyranny. Dr. Licht is a true American hero whose courage, patriotism and service is something that deserves to be celebrated and admired.”
A native of New York City and a graduate of The Bronx High School of Science, Licht joined the Marine Corps in February 1943 and was assigned to the VMB-611 squadron, operating in the Pacific Theatre. He flew 27 combat sorties as a radio-gunner, providing air support to Allied ground troops fighting the Japanese forces in the Philippines, including during the Eighth U.S. Army’s invasion against enemy bases at Mindanao and Borneo.
He rose to the rank of corporal.
For his service, Licht earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with three gold service stars, the Navy Unit Commendation Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with two bronze service stars, the World War II Victory Medal, the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation, the Philippine Liberation Medal with one bronze service star, the New York State Conspicuous Service Cross with four silver devices and the New York State Conspicuous Service Star.
Back in the states, Licht received his bachelor’s degree Phi Beta Kappa from New York University and his doctorate from New York University Dental School. He had a dental practice in Flushing for 60 years before retiring three years ago at the age of 89.
Licht has resided in Roslyn Heights since 1956. He is also a longtime member of American Legion Post 144 in Williston Park. He and his wife, Barbara, were married for 51 years and raised two daughters, Lisbeth and Carolyn. He is also the grandfather of two granddaughters, Lindsay and Chelsea.
The Senate’s Veterans’ Hall of Fame recognizes veterans from across the state for their extraordinary efforts in combat or for work performed after they were discharged from the service, an honor Licht has richly deserved. For his services at both home and abroad, Licht’s biography and photo were on view in the Legislative Office Building in Albany as part of a display honoring the 2016 inductees.