Rank: Staff Sergeant
Outfit: 40th Ordnance Co., 76th Infantry Division (ONAWAY company) Company A 301st Engineer Bn.
Duties: Included locating, marking and deactivating high explosive land mines
Married to Victoria Levandoski
Father to Frank; grandfather to Mary and Cathrine; great-grandfather to Daniel, Sara and Noah
Home Farm in Sheridan for a few years then finally making Townsend St. his final homestead
Items that Frank witnessed during his war years: Frank always recalled his memories of the V1 Rocket (buzz bombs) the horrible screaming sounds and the massive civilian destruction they caused
Staff Sgt. Frank J. Levandoski was born in the city of Dunkirk on Dec. 10, 1910, the son of Joseph and Antonia Levandoski. Levandoski had two sisters and five brothers. At age 10, Frank's mother died. The remainder of his childhood and teenage years were very difficult. He began as a farm laborer in his teen years and at age 15 was hired out to work at a farm in Ripley for room and board with a salary of 50 cents a month.
Staff Sgt. Levandoski enlisted in the Army on March 19, 1937, and was assigned to the 40th Ordnance Co. (T) with the rank of corporal, serving at Raritan Arsenal, N.J., as a field service instructor until March 18, 1940, receiving an honorable discharge. Upon leaving the Army, he returned to Dunkirk with immediate employment at ALCO Products. A short time later, he married Victoria M. Balzer. On Dec. 18, 1941, they had a son and a few months later on June 8, 1942, Staff Sgt. Levandoski was inducted into the Army and sent to a reception center at Fort Niagara.
A short time later, he was stationed at Fort George G. Meade, Md., assigned to the 76th Infantry Division (ONAWAY), Company A, 301st Engineer Battalion. On Aug. 8, 1942, he was appointed to the rank of corporal; then on Sept. 1, 1942, he was appointed to the rank of sergeant. After additional training at Camp McCoy, Wis., in 1944, the 76th embarked for the European Theater with Sgt. Levandoski receiving a promotion to staff sergeant and participating in the Ardennes, Central Europe and Rhinland campaigns.
Staff Sgt. Levandoski saw a great deal of combat and received the Bronze Star in one of the actions. The written description "'Load Up' with the Mighty First," a short history of the 301st Engineers is as follows: A coordination in the area of town of Dickweiler, a reconnaissance was formed. Lt. Samuel D. Gillette and Lt. Smith led a party of Staff Sgt. Levandoski, Sergeant B. Anderson, Private First Class Woodrow W. Jackson and a sergeant of the A and P Platoon. While on this reconnaissance party, Feb. 6, 1945, our platoon leader, Lt. Gillette was killed, also the loss of Pfc. Jackson who lost his leg in the performance of his duty in the minefield. Due to the efforts of Staff Sgt. Levandoski and Sgt. Anderson, Pfc. Jackson was removed from the minefield and an attempt was made to reach the body of Lt. Gillette, during which the field was fired upon by German machine gun and mortar fire and without the aid of a mine detector. Both were issued the Bronze Star.
On Feb. 7, 1945, the 76th Division were the first to reach their objective in the attack against the Siegfried Line, of the three divisions participating in the initial assault in the area of Echternach, Luxembourg.
The first bridge, a footbridge across the Sauer River was built under continual artillery fire by the men of 301st A Co. Engineer Battalion who were finally called in to produce where other engineers had failed. Staff Sgt. Levandoski was platoon sergeant during the successful building of the bridge under heavy enemy fire. For the sake of comparison, it is worth noting that the airfield on Iwo Jima had a pillbox every 35 yards and that on the far bank of the Sauer River on the cross front of the 301st Engineer Battalion, there was a pillbox every 40 yards.
Staff Sgt. Levandoski received the following decorations and citations: the Bronze Star medal; European, African and Middle Easter Service medals; Good Conduct medal; and as a member of the 301st Engineer Combat Battalion, they received the Meritorious Service Unit Plaque. He also received three Battle Stars.
It should be noted that the 76th Infantry Division was credited with the crossing of 20 rivers and lost 2,395 men in killed and wounded.
Staff Sgt. Levandoski received an honorable discharge from the Army on Oct. 18, 1945, at Fort Dix, N.J.
Upon his discharge and return to Dunkirk, he returned to employment at ALCO Products employed as a "gang leader" in the carpentry department. Upon the closure of ALCO, he was hired by the University of the State of New York at Fredonia as a carpenter. Unfortunately, due to serious illness he was unable to retire by one year. He died March 1981, a humble, gentle human being. Always willing to help others and never with complaint of the difficult times in his life. His love for the Army and time in the service for our country was foremost in his mind until his death. He is survived by his loving wife, Victoria and his son, Frank Jr.
Frank Levandoski, Staff Sgt. U.S. Army Engineer. Hearing stories from the veteran's family you can see the honor that his veteran left, not only for his son but also his two grandchildren and three greatgrandchildren.
It is hard to visualize a young man working as a farm hand in Ripley then after a few months training, is walking through land mine fields and making it safe for our boys to continue taking the fight to our enemy. Frank is now gone. After reading this story, one can only say had it not been for our local hero Frank, we may not enjoy the freedoms we have today.