Retired Army Colonel Billy C. Greene, OD '49, DOS, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, died Tuesday, April 5, 2011. He was born and raised in Hannibal, Missouri. He entered the U.S. Army on Oct. 16, 1941, and served in the enlisted grades to staff sergeant and in 1943 was commissioned a second lieutenant, coast artillery, at the Anti-Aircraft Artillery Officer Candidate School in Camp Davis.
Colonel Greene served in various artillery officer positions in the U.S. and Pacific Theater during World War II. He returned to inactive duty status to attend school and received his doctor of optometry degree from Southern College of Optometry in Memphis in 1949.
He returned to active duty during the Korean War and was assigned to the Army Medical Department with various optometry officer assignments in the United States until designated chief, optometry section, Medical Service Corps and optometry consultant to the surgeon general in 1960. Col. Greene remained on the staff of the surgeon general in this capacity until June 1970.
One of his biggest accomplishments was having optometrists become an integral part of Army divisions and assigning opticians to support the divisions. Colonel Greene was also a founding member of the Armed Forces Optometric Society (AFOS). He established the first "tri-service" optometry seminar where all of the branches of the military were involved. The first seminar was held in 1963 and became an integral part of military optometry.
1969, the AFOS honored Colonel Greene with the Orion Award, the highest honor given to an optometrist in the Armed Forces.
In 1970, he was then assigned as optometry consultant, office of the surgeon in Europe and returned to Fort Bragg in June 1974 and retired from active duty Sept. 1, 1974. He was in private optometric practice in Fayetteville until his second retirement on Dec. 19, 1986.
Colonel Greene was a 32 Degree Mason, a member of the Cumberland County Shrine Club and Sudan Shrine Temple and a member of both Scottish rite and York rite. He held two honorary doctor of ocular science degrees, one from Los Angeles College of Optometry (now Southern California College of Optometry) and the other from Southern College of Optometry.
In 2000, Colonel Greene was awarded SCO's Lifetime Achievement Award, the highest honor bestowed upon an SCO graduate.
He was married to the former Juanita M. Willamson of Savannah, Ga., who passed on before him. He is survived by his daughter, Jackie Raynor; two granddaughters, Crystal Jade McClay and Veronica Hamilton; and a great-grandson, Jesse Paul McClay.