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Levi, Chief Ship Fitter Charles A. Papers  


Dates: 1944-1949

Collection Number: COLL/476

Finding aid (Word)

Biographical Note

Charles Alvin Levi was born January 15, 1904, in Denver, Colorado. Before joining the Navy on July 26, 1942, he worked as a welding foreman Fort Worth & Denver Railroad.  He was ordered to Norfolk Naval Operating Base for three weeks of training in intensive welding and subsequently to Welding School at Camp Endicott for six weeks.   

He served in the Construction Battalion at Norfolk Naval Operating Base, Virginia, as well as in the 85th Construction Battalion in World War II.  He was stationed to bases in the Aleutians and in New Hebrides, as well as on USS Sea Bass.  While on Sea Bass, the ship crossed the equator en route to Tokyo, and Levi received his shellback certificate as part of the ship's crossing the line ceremony.

While in the Navy, Levi invented a pitchometer, a ship propeller straightening device, for which he was commended. He was honorably discharged on 2 October 1945 with the rating of Chief Shipfitter, and was employed by the Lincoln Electric Company in Cleveland, Ohio. He was later killed in a railroad accident.   

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of the papers of Chief Shipfitter Charles Levi. It includes photographs, personal letters, certificates, and plans of his propeller straightening device. The collection is organized in four series.

Series I, Personal, contains Levi's certificates and awards and a commendation for his propeller straightening device.  Also in this series are correspondence, his discharge certificate, and crossing the line certificate.

The second series consists of photographs, and is arranged by subject. Found in this series are photographs of Alaska, military bases, personal, sailors, the ship propeller straightening device, and ships.

Series III holds publications. Included are copies of the 85th Sea Breeze, the newsletter of the 85th Construction Battalion, from 1944, and the 1 November 1944 issue of Construction Battalion Activities, which describes the propeller straightening device. 

The last series, Miscellaneous, contains a hand-drawn calendar and plans for construction of the ship propeller straightening device.

Preferred Citation

This collection should be cited as the Papers of Charles A. Levi, Archives Branch, Naval History and Heritage Command, Washington, D.C.

Subject Headings (LCSH)

United States. Navy--Petty Officers.
Propellers--Maintenance and Repair.
United States. Naval Construction Battalion, 85th.
Sailors--United States--Photographs.


Published: Tue Aug 10 12:24:41 EDT 2021