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• The Air Commando Association has sponsored the lead-

ership school awards in his name at both Hurlburt Field and Cannon Air Force Base.

In 1988 John was invited as the guest speaker at the

Leadership School graduation at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. While there he visited the Air Mobility Command Museum and was impressed with the displays and the peo- ple that he met. He later donated his service ribbons, aircrew wings, name tag, and several of his photographs which are now on display in the Hallway of Heroes.

In 1999 John was diagnosed with cancer. For over eigh-

teen months he fought a gallant battle, but died on November 8, 2000. He was fifty five years old. He was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery, section 66, site 7107 on November 17, 2000.

Lesser Known Facts John started his Air Force career in the 438 Civil

Engineering Squadron at McGuire AFB, New Jersey, as an Electrical Power Line Specialist. He cross trained to Loadmaster in October 1967 and crewed C-130 Hercules transports in the 45th Military Airlift Squadron at McGuire AFB.

When John arrived at the White House for

the Medal of Honor ceremony he was in civil- ian clothes as he was no longer in the Air Force. They wanted him in a uniform, so they collected uniform parts and had him in a make shift uni- form for the pictures and ceremony. They did not have a name tag for him. In the oil portrait of him that was later commissioned, and painted from the official photograph taken at the White House, the artist added the name tag. Both pictures are on display at the AMC museum.

His house was burglarized and only three

items were stolen; a bottle of scotch, a piggy bank, and his Medal of Honor. This made head- line news in the local media. His medal was never recovered. Another medal was made for him, but it never had the significance of the original.

There are a total of eighteen Air Force per-

sonnel that received the Medal of Honor. John was the sixteenth. William H. Pitsenbarger was the seventeenth, and Chief Master Sergeant Richard Etchberger was the eighteenth for his actions at Lima Site 85, where he was killed on March 11, 1968. The medal was awarded to him posthumously on September 21, 2010.

John made it a personal mission to have

the Air Force Cross that had been awarded to A1C William H. Pitsenbarger upgraded to the Medal of Honor for his actions and life sacrifice as a pararescueman on April 11, 1966 at Cam My, Vietnam while aiding Army troops under Fall 2011 │ AIR COMMANDO JOURNAL │ 55

attack. This was finally done on December 8, 2000 making Pitsenbarger the second enlisted Airman to receive the Medal of Honor, but sadly he had been killed in action.

John reportedly stated “I will give them back my medal

if they will award it to William Pitsenbarger”. A1C William H. Pitsenbarger became the 17th Air Force recipient of the Medal of Honor on December 8, 2000. This was one month after John had died.

John L. Levitow, born November 1, 1945 in Hartford Connecticut

Entered United States Air Force, June 6, 1966 Honorable Discharge from the Air Force, April 3, 1970 Medal of Honor Recipient, May 14, 1970 Died November 8, 2000 Sources for this article: World Wide Web Ron Gough, personal friend of John Levitow Air Mobility Command Museum, Dover Air Force Base, DE Researched, compiled, and written by Harry Bright

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