Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veteran’s Day 2012 – My special veterans edition

Gordon Military
Gordon Levy
As we celebrate Veteran’s Day and the service of all veterans, it’s appropriate to take time to recognize some very special veterans in my life.  World War I formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 and the following year Woodrow Wilson first proclaimed Armistice Day for November 11, 1919.  And how special that one of my special veterans was active in the military during this time.

The photo above is my dad, Gordon Levy.  Dad enlisted in the Army Air Force on July 1, 1944, just a few weeks after graduating from Fresno High School.  However, he didn’t enter into active service until nearly a year later on June 16, 1945 after he completed his first year of college at Stanford University. 

I wrote a bit about Dad’s military service here previously.  He was always so proud that he’d had the opportunity to report about the Nuremberg Trials and while he was only there for a day or two, it was obviously an event that was etched in his memory forever.  Once again, I found the original of a photo that was included in a newspaper article – this one in the article Dad wrote for the Fresno Guide which was published on October 10, 1946.

Gordon Germany 1945
Written on back of photo
Cpl Gordon F. Levy
In Germany 1945

I’ve learned a bit about Dad’s military service from his Honorable Discharge papers.  He was with the 128th Replacement Battalion and departed the United States on January 7, 1946 arriving on January 17 in EAMET – not sure what that means and can’t find a reference to it but I think it might be Germany.  He came back to the States on October 26, 1946 and arrived November 6, 1946 for a total of 10 months, 0 days in foreign service plus 7 months, 16 days in continental service.  He was discharged on December 1, 1946 at Camp Beale, California.  Interesting that Camp Beale is within a few miles of where my brother lives today.

Gordon Discharge Record

I love this photo of Dad as it shows a little bit of how he was living at the time – I love the jacket!

Gordon PFC Mar 1946
Written on back of photo
PFC Gordon F. Levy
U.S. Army of Occupation
March 1946

Also serving during World War II was Dad’s brother, Robert Levy.  I don’t know much about Rob’s military service yet but I did find this photo that I especially love since it shows the two brothers in back of their parents’ home in which we spent quite a bit of time during our childhood.

Robert and Gordon Levy

Going even farther back, my other special veteran is Dad’s father, Sigmund Levy.  I’m learning a lot about Sig as I go through Grandma Loraine’s scrapbook and work on transcribing the letters Sig and Loraine wrote back and forth to each other from 1917-1919.  What I know about Sig’s military experience is that he was a Flying Cadet who completed his ground training at Berkeley and then went on to March Field in Riverside.  I don’t believe he ever served in combat as the war was over shortly after he arrived at March Field.  How exciting it must have been to be in the military on November 11, 1918!

Here’s some special photos of Sig during his military days.

Sig Military Sig Levy Military
Check out the great uniform – how handsome he looks.  I can see why Loraine was so smitten!
What, you want to see it just a bit closer?  And maybe even in color?  Okay, let me take care of that for you!

                      Sigmund Levy uniform – World War I
I found a stash of uniforms in the storage unit which I believed were, for the most part, from World War II and probably belonged to my dad and his brother.  But once I found the photos of Sig in his uniform I decided to go through the boxes thoroughly to see if there might be a match and there was!  And it is in near perfect condition, even after being thrown in a box and stored in either a basement or storage unit for at least 40 years.

And as an added bonus, I found a hat!  I wouldn’t have believed it if the name Sig Levy hadn’t been printed on the inside but here it is – an official flying cadet hat!

I also have to take this opportunity to remember another very special veteran, my 3rd great grandfather on my mother’s side, Emery Waller.  If you’ve been following my blog, you might remember that I was able to get Emery’s grave marked just in time for Veteran’s Day last year – without a doubt one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.  Click here to read about it. 

Emery Waller gravestone
Captain Emery L. Waller
McPherson Cemetery, McPherson, Kansas

So thank you to all of those who have served and helped make our country what it is today!


  1. I love the first photo of your dad, so handsome! I feel a special kinship to him because of his MOS; I'm also in the field of "editing." We call it Public Affairs now and editors are called print journalists, but the job is still so important. There is nothing better than telling the Soldier's story. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks, Heather. I think he's pretty handsome, too, but I might be just a bit biased :-)

  2. I've been reading several Veterans Day tributes, but this one is truly outstanding. Not just old photos but the actual uniform -- amazing!

    1. I have two big boxes of uniforms - I'm pretty sure the rest are my dad's and maybe my uncle's. It really is amazing that they are all in such great condition!

  3. Debi, this is a wonderful Veteran's Day tribute! That uniform and flying cadet hat are really amazing! It's unbelievable that you still have those. They are in such great condition too. Truly a treasure!

    1. I can't wait to go through the box and figure out what else is there. So much to do, so little time.....

      Thanks for your comment!

    2. Debi, I just wanted to let you know that this post is listed on today's Fab Finds post at

  4. Your dad and grandpa look really handsome in the pictures! You must be really proud to have in your family two special people who served for your country. We appreciate the courage and loyalty they have shown to fight for the ideals of our nation.

    Jan Dils