Sunday, November 8, 2015

You’re in the Army (Air Force) now

In going through some correspondence that my grandfather, Sig Levy, kept through the years, I found some very interesting things that helps me understand his thoughts as his sons went off to war.  And in light of Veteran’s Day coming up, I thought it appropriate to share some of his correspondence. 

Bertrand W. Gearhart served as the United States Representative for California’s 9th congressional district from 1935 to 1949.  I don’t know if my grandfather had a personal relationship with him but it looks like they did have some correspondence back and forth in 1945.  Since he addressed him as Bud, I would guess they were friends.

Bertrand Gearhart 10_15_1945 page 1

Bertrand Gearhart 10_15_1945 page 2 

October 15, 1945

Dear Bud:

I certainly was very happy to receive your letter today under date of October 9th.

Yes, I did read the account of Richard J. Rundle’s appointment to the Naval Academy at Annapolis and was certainly pleased to hear of it.  The family was extremely gratiful [sic] and rang me up to thank me for the assistance I gave and expecially [sic] to you for doing the good work to have him appointed.

I only hope he makes good and from his past reputation he should, as he was a very fine student in High School.

Thought you might be interested in knowing where my two boys’ are.  Robert is a 1st Lieutenant and is Base Information and Education Officer at Fort Lewis, Washington, and I really think he has been doing a swell job.

Gordon is a private and enlisted in the Air Force Reserve in the Air Combat Crew and had his basic at Keesler Field, Mississippi some time ago.  He has now been transferred to Scott Field, Illinois and unfortunately this class of youngsters, in the 18 and 19 year old class, have had practically nothing whatever to do since the Japanese surrendered.

I understand that there are thousands of men lying around at these eastern camps doing nothing and the moral of most of these boys is on the down grade.  You, no doubt, have received thousands of letters in connection with these youngsters and I hope and we all hope that you are doing all you can to get them released from the Army so that they may go back to College in the event that the Army does not actually need them, which appears to be the case.

These boys are going to be the citizens of tomorrow and if they lose all their education it will be a sad state of affairs.

Gordon himself is extremely active and has just written me today that he has worked himself into a position as reporter on the Base newspaper so that is right down his alley as he was a sports writer on the Stanford Daily.

I was sorry that I missed you and didn’t get to visit with you on your last trip to Fresno, but for some reason you were so busy I could never find you.

Again, we all think you for getting young Rundle his appointment.

And I do hope that Congress will look into the situation concerning these 18 and 19 year old lads who are doing nothing in the Army and as soon as the Army can relieve them I hope that they will then all go back to College and get their education.

All the boys and my family join with me in sending you their very kind regards,

Sincerely yours,
Sig. Levy
Scott Field

And in the box of letters I have that my dad, Gordon Levy, wrote to his parents, I found this letter from Scott Field, Illinois which I think might be the letter that Sig references in his correspondence to Bud.

Gordon Letter 10_13_1945

13 October 1945

Dearest Mom and Pop:

Your letter yesterday was indeed welcome – after a week without mail, it’s a good feeling to hear from home etc.  All the news was deeply absorbed, but I’m sorry that none is fit for publication in the Scott Field Broadcaster.  As yet, I haven’t had any mail forwarded from Keesler, but it will get here sometime – in the army, you learn how to wait a good spell for anything.

You can notice by the typewriter that I’m once again back in the good situation – at the present I have a good deal, very lucky I must say.  This job keeps me out of KP, details and inspections – and as Pop knows, a newspaper is a damn swell way to get to meet people.  I work under a sgt. and a corporal – both swell guys.  My job consists of an assorted barreload [sic] – get news, write it, help print it at the printer shop 25 miles away and deliver 10,000 copies over the 81 stops on the post.  We ride in class around here when we do any riding – in an army recon car.  I don’t know what the chances will be for permanent assignment here – but I’ll wait until I see what they’re going to do with us.  If leaving here or going to some school will look good, I’ll go.  If it looks as though I can stay right here permanently and have a good job, I’ll try to stay.  It all depends on how well I do and how much I’m needed when my name on the shipping list comes up.  I’ll let that ride for awhile.  Right now they’re sending guys to Las Vegas, Madison, and all around either for permanent party or overseas or even schools in some cases.  This school business is a big farce – all those recommendations are just useless, cause once a guy gets in school, they’ll pass him even if he never turns in a paper.  I think I have a good opportunity right here – I’ll stick to it and work as hard as I can.  I’ve had enough rest for awhile – a little work won’t hurt me.  I’m fairly well satisfied – things sure can change in a period of a few days, can’t they?  I’ll send you a copy of next week’s paper if I have anything in it…fair enough?

Let me know where Ben Winkler is in St. Louis and anyone else you might know who lives around theese [sic] parts.  We go into town fairly often – in fact, we’re even going in this afternoon to see Washington University’s campus and maybe get a few connections there.  My friend Dave was a Delta Tau Delta at Stanford, and they have a chapter here – so we’re in.  The little town of Belleville is a nice place too – about 35,000 and only five miles from here.  I haven’t even had a chance to see that yet.  This job keeps me busy all day, and when night comes I’m a bit tired – but that’s natural after so long of doing nothing.

I see where a night call from here only costs around $2.00, so maybe you’ll hear from me more often wile I’m here – count on that.  Thanx, Pop, for having the Bee changed to here – I’m a little lost on hometown news, but I’ll catch up soon.  I got a nice letter from Rob before I left Keesler, which was interesting.  I could see getting stationed at his base sometime – just think, I could go to the officers club and all around – me with no stripes.

That just about does it for now – have to get out and collect a little data before lunch  You’ll hear from me early in the week – till then

Love, Gord

Gordon Military
Gordon F. Levy

More correspondence to come – stay tuned.


  1. Amazing letters -- and so timely. Well done!

  2. Wonderful letters. Thanks for sharing them.

  3. Your grandfather was mentioned in a Facebook post today on Fresno's Past page.

    by Sigmund Levy
    (Fresno Realtor)
    "Glaring National Headlines proclaimed Fresno as the scene of the first attempt to deliver newspapers by air express when Glenn L. Martin flew 100 copies of the Fresno Morning Republican to Madera on April 13, 1912.
    Martin had just stepped into the aviation picture & was predicting that airplanes would some day be used to carry passengers, mail & express over land & sea. In providing basis for his predictions, he brought Fresno its first recognition in the field of aviation."
    (Source: Fresno County Centennial Almanac)

    You are also mentioned in that particular post. Don't know if you follow the FB page or not.

    1. Thank you, thank you, thank you for letting me know. I have joined the group and can't wait to share information!