Veterans of CNY: Edward Levey World War II

Edward Levey doesn't want any special acknowledgment for his service to the U.S.

"After the war, New York state held a vote to ask if veterans of World War II should get a bonus," said Levey, a veteran of the U.S. Army Air Corps who served from 1945 to 1946. "It was something like $100 for men who served in the U.S., $200 for men who went overseas but didn't see combat and $300 for combat veterans, which was a lot of money back then."

Levey, who now lives in Baldwinsville, voted against the proposal, which ultimately passed.

"I didn't think it was necessary," he said. "I was doing my patriotic duty, and I didn't think we needed any additional recognition."

It wasn't glory but love of country that led Levey, originally from Washington Heights in Manhattan, to enlist in the Air Corps in 1945 at the age of 17.

"I wanted to be in the Air Corps," he said. "I don't know why. I was 17. Who knows what I was thinking?"

By the time he was 18 and eligible to enter the service, World War II was coming to an end. As the Air Corps was part of the Army and that's where men were needed, Levey was sent into the Army. After taking basic training at Camp Rucker in Alabama and Camp Gordon in Georgia, he shipped out in May of 1945, three weeks after Germany surrendered, to help police the defeated nation.

Levey's ship landed at Le Havre, France, and he was put on what was known as a "40 and 8."

"It was an expression from World War I," he said. "A 40 and 8 was an empty freight car, and they'd put 40 soldiers and eight horses on it. Except we didn't have any horses."

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