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The Legacy of Milton Levine and Max Markowitz on D-Day

The crew of B-24 Liberator 42-52629 known as ‘Sweatin’ It Out,’ took off early on the morning of June 6, 1944. They were part of a group of heavy bombers dispatched to France on D-Day.  Flight Officer Milton Levine and Staff Sergeant Max Isadore Markowitz were members of that bomber crew. They shared a common heritage that underscored their bravery and sacrifice during World War II.

Milton Levine was born on February 18, 1917, in Revere, Massachusetts. He was one of five children of Harry Levine, a Russian immigrant painter, and Mae Levine, the daughter of Russian immigrants born in Massachusetts. Growing up in Boston, Milton completed high school and worked as a printer before registering for the draft on October 16, 1940. He stood 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighed 143 pounds, and had brown eyes and hair. After enlisting in the Army Air Corps on July 24, 1942, he trained as a bombardier, earning his wings on October 7, 1943. He was assigned to Lt. Norman E. Gross’s B-24 crew within the 838th Bomb Squadron of the 487th Bomb Group.

Max Isadore Markowitz was born on June 29, 1921, in the Bronx, New York City. His parents, Julius and Mary (Rosenzweig) Markowitz, were Romanian immigrants. The family lived on Mermaid Avenue in Brooklyn where his father worked as a salesman. Max completed high school and worked as a pharmacy clerk before enlisting in the U.S. Army. He was trained as a radio operator and was assigned to the same bomber crew as Milton Levine.

The 487th Bomb Group deployed to England in March 1944 where they were stationed near Lavenham, Suffolk. As part of the 8th U.S. Army Air Force, they prepared for their critical role in the Normandy invasion. On June 6, 1944, D-Day, Milton Levine and Max Markowitz, along with their crew, were tasked with bombing a road junction in Caen, France, to disrupt German transportation and support the Allied landings.

Tragically, after an arduous mission, ‘Sweatin’ It Out,’ ran out of fuel and crashed into the English Channel. A distress call indicated their last position was northwest of the Cherbourg Peninsula. On July 3, 1944, Milton Levine’s remains were found by the British ship HSL 192 and buried at sea. The remains of Max Markowitz and the rest of the crew were never recovered.

Milton Levine and Max Isadore Markowitz’s shared Jewish heritage and ultimate sacrifice are poignant reminders of the diverse backgrounds of those who fought in World War II. Their dedication and bravery are etched into history, commemorated on the Walls of the Missing at Cambridge American Cemetery and Normandy American Cemetery with their fellow crew members. Their stories remind us of the enduring legacy of those who gave their lives for freedom.

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