Sunday, May 27, 2018

52 Ancestors: Military

Sig Military
Sigmund Levy, c. 1918

My paternal grandfather, Sigmund Levy, served in WWI – I’ve written a lot about his time as a Flying Cadet (he had to sit on a pillow when flying!).  But it all became a little more real when I discovered some new information.

It looks like just an old binder but when I opened it up, I found this on the inside cover.

This is my grandfather’s “stuff” from his Flying Cadet Days!  It looks to be class notes, sketches, schedules – so much information that I could never capture it all.

And look – this shows the instructions for newly arrived cadets and that he was assigned to Squadron A 61. 

Squad Assignment

Binder tabs didn’t look all that much different in 1918.  Unfortunately, he didn’t seem to use them and just put everything loose inside the binder.

Lots of notes.  My grandfather didn’t have great handwriting but this is all really tough to read.  I’m sure he figured he’d be the only one to read it plus it’s all Greek to me.

He had a schedule of his daily activities.  This card was compliments of Aviator’s Exchange.  It’s interesting to see their advertisements along the side of the card – the Aviators could check their excess baggage of free of charge.  I also notice they had Aviation Stationery – I wonder if that’s where Sig bought the stationery he used to write letters to my grandmother (which are safely tucked away in my closet).

Schedue Card

On Mondays and Tuessdays at 8:10 a.m., Sig attended Machine Guns (class, I guess).  Here’s a sample of his notes.

Machine Guns

Wanna know more about the Theory of Flight and History of Flying?  Good luck with that (I can barely read a word).

History of Fllight

And they learned about the Articles of War – I love that he reminded himself that Article II was important. 

Articles of War

Inside were a couple of folders – this one was about Airplanes.


The first page was an airplane sketch.  An airplane sketch today would sure look different.

Airplane Sketch

Of course they learned about Morse Code.  Is that even used these days?

Morse Code

They were really getting prepared.

Map Signs

Map Signs Detail

Thankfully, Sig never left the United States and went on to lead a long and productive life.  I don’t remember him ever talking about his time as a Flying Cadet and for that matter, I don’t remember my dad mentioning it, either.  Did Sig not talk about it or was I not listening?

As we honor the fallen this Memorial Day, I take this opportunity to remember my two ancestors who were killed in the line of duty.

My 2nd great grandfather, William J. Brooks, killed at the Battle of Fredericksburg, December 13, 1862.  Buried in Dials Cemetery, Laurens County, South Carolina.

And my mother’s step brother, Robert Melvin Hunter, killed aboard the USS Oklahoma, Pearl Harbor, on December 7, 1941.  Buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (aka The Punchbowl) in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Hunter Robert Melvin

Rest in peace.


  1. You have some real treasures! I remember my dad teaching me about Morse Code, which he learned when he served in WWII in the Army Air Force.

  2. I LOVE the photo and the binder! What a wonderful glimpse into history! And, I'm glad you are remembering your family members who died in conflict. How sad that your mother's step brother died at Pearl Harbor!

  3. What incredible papers. I bet most soldiers dumped all that stuff (or their mothers or wives did) as soon as they got home. I wonder if the military would be interested in it for their history.