Alexander Nadolny enlisted in the Navy in his hometown of Brooklyn, New York, on Dec. 3, 1940. He travelled to Newport, Rhode Island, for boot camp, where for five weeks he learned how to swim, shoot, row, and accomplish other Navy skills. After graduating boot camp, he served aboard USS Louisville at the Brooklyn Navy Yard–first as a ship fitter and then later to the shop. Once, when granted leave, he went home and brought back his accordion.
When USS Louisville left port on a long voyage for Manilla, Nadolny often played accordion in the evaporator room. Soon, the chaplain asked him to play during mass. After Manilla, USS Louisville departed for the Solomon Islands. It took them just nine days to get to Pearl Harbor, following the attack.
Nadolny saw action throughout the Pacific, from the Aleutians to Guadalcanal, the Namur and Roi islands to Palau and Truk. His duties often included maintaining the water valves to fight fires and fixing the watertight seals on doors.
In 1944, Nadolny began deep sea diving training in Washington, D.C.
Returning to the frontlines, in Okinawa, Nadolny and the other divers put their diving skills to use repairing his ship’s battle damage. And in slower times, he continued playing the accordion. He was discharged from the Navy in February 1946.
Out of the service, Nadolny soon met and married Florence Paluzsek, with whom he shared 70 years of marriage. He worked as a truck mechanic, fleet supervisor, and professional musician. Nadolny participated in an Honor Flight with his family to Washington, D.C., in 2016. He died the following summer.
We honor his service.
Read more about Alexander’s story at the Veteran’s History Project at http://memory.loc.gov/diglib/vhp/bib/loc.natlib.afc2001001.42383 with additional information at https://www.rutherfordfuneralhomes.com/obituaries/Alexander-Nadolny/#!/Obituary.
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Veterans History Project
This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from Veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at http://www.loc.gov/vets/.
Fact checker: Tavia Wager
Graphic artist: Alexandra Craig