Early Life & Naval Career

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Rudolph was born in New York City on February 1, 1923. He was next to the youngest of five brothers in the Amato family. He was six years old when the Great Depression began in 1929. They weathered this economic drought. Rudolph completed his high school education in 1941 majoring in commercial art. He studied drawing under Edward C. Caswell, a noted book illustrator. They became great friends. He worked odd jobs until May 5th, 1943 when he was drafted into the US Navy. He went to naval boot camp at Sampson, NY. Upon completion of his training he volunteered for duty as an air crewman on torpedo bombers. Trained as an Aviation Radioman-Gunner, he remained on base as a communications instructor and illustrator for the base newspaper. This was followed by shore patrol duty in New York City. He was honorably discharged in May 1945.

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He was promoted to petty officer third class and he was authorized to wear the aircrew wings on 22 April 1944.

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One of two murals he painted for the Flight Deck Theater, NAS, Ft. Lauderdale. He also decorated the walls of the Officer’s Lounge with air battle scenes. Rudy was issued a permanent pass to the theater in appreciation of the many favors rendered the Welfare and Recreation Department.

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He recieved the following letter of recomendation:

United States Naval Air Station
Fort Lauderdale, Florida

6 June 1945

To Whom It May Concern:

This is an unqualified recommendation for Rudolph Amato, ARM3c. In a year of close association, he has displayed initiative, intelligence, imagination, cooperation, industry and good humor to a degree I have seldom seen equaled.

He came here as an air crewman a little over a year ago and graduated up near the top of his squadron. He was so good the station kept him on board as a radio instructor in the ground training division. Being an artist, he gravitated normally to the station newspaper-public relations office. He had never drawn a cartoon – but turned out 40 or 50, every one funny, everyone contributing to morale, good order, discipline, or something, well conceived and executed.

He had never painted in oils—but has executed four excellent murals of professional caliber.

He had never drawn an illustration—but has turned out a score or more for the station paper depicting accurately moments of combat in which pilots and air crewmen from this station have participated in the Pacific. The scenes he has drawn have been recognized instantly on several occasions by other people involved in the action.

He has done this mountain of art work in addition to performing his “military duties” as an air crewman instructor, competently and diligently.

Rudolph Amato, whose parents were born in Italy, three of his brothers are in the armed forces of the United States, Is an American of whom other Americans can be proud.

As stated, this is an unqualified recommendation. He is capable by character, determination and intelligence of carrying out faithfully almost any duty to which he is assigned.

M. E. Myler
Lieutenant, USNR
Public Relations Officer

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