‘If he was on the battlefield, he probably would’ve been shot in the back’— Inside the toxic command of Air Force Lt. Gen. Lee Levy
There are good leaders and bad leaders, and then there are leaders whose command climates are so toxic and humiliating that they make deployments seem like a cakewalk. Air Force Lt. Gen. Lee Levy II was in the third category, according to a recent Inspector General report.
The 80-page report was unwavering in its condemnation of Levy, who, as head of the Air Force Sustainment Center based in Tinker Air Force Base, was responsible for nearly 43,000 airmen, multiple supply chain wings and air base wings, and nearly two dozen operating locations both within and outside the continental US. But all that authority couldn’t stop those directly under his command from hating his guts.
“I think if he was in the battlefield, he probably would’ve been shot in the back,” said one witness, whose sentiment “was expressed by virtually every member of Lt. Gen. Levy’s [redacted],” the report said. In total, 35 of Levy’s subordinates and other witnesses were interviewed.
Levy’s rap sheet, the report said, included publicly and personally belittling subordinates, allowing civilians to make sexual remarks to his female staff, and wrongfully accepting loans from his lesser-paid employees and not paying them back.
For specific examples, the report highlighted incidents where Levy made fun of a female subordinate’s eating habits and told her to lose weight; deliberately dropped folders on the floor of his office and told his staff to pick them up; ordered his subordinates to dust the frames of the pictures in his office, and shamed them for not serving his coffee hot enough.
“That year was the hardest year of my life…professionally and personally,” said one subordinate in the report. “It was harder than a deployment, because there was no job satisfaction.”
Another airman, who only had to work for Levy for 90 days, described that period as “hands down …read more
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