Stanley F. Kolniak
Electrician's Mate, 3rd Class
U. S. Navy
WWII US Military
Dates of Service: 12/1941 - 1945
Electricians Mate on Submarine USS Blower SS-325

He was born in Cheektowaga, New York, to Polish immigrant parents. Stanley left school in his senior year and volunteered for the U.S. Navy two weeks after Pearl Harbor at age seventeen. After boot camp he was assigned to the USS Texas (BB-35) an aged battleship then being used as a midshipmen's school, where he trained in the electrical shop. A seaman third class, he requested submarine service "to do something different, something unique, something dangerous," he recalls. After training in New London, Connecticut, Stanley was assigned to the newly built submarine, USS Blower (SS-325). His weight, 118 pounds, helped him fit in the tight sleeping conditions. The food, he reports, was excellent. The Blower operated off the China coast in the Formosa Straits for about two months. When Stanley went on R&R (rest and recuperation) in Australia, he was awed by the Australians' love of Americans. "We went to church one Sunday, and I'm telling you, the people mobbed us," he recalls. On another excursion the Blower slipped through the Lombok Straits, a narrow passage between islands connecting the Java Sea to the Indian Ocean. Japanese vessels its fifteen-to-twenty-mile stretch constantly. The straits were so shallow the Blower could not submerge. "You ran on the surface full speed," he recalls. "It'd take about four hours." The Blower also patrolled around Java and Borneo for fifty-seven days. In leisure time aboard the sub Stanley says the men read, watched movies, and listened to the broadcasts of "Tokyo Rose." He says they ignored the propaganda and enjoyed the music. Each man could shower once a week in a three-minute shower. Otherwise, he says, they washed from basins. Stanley wrote to his girl friend and family each week to ten days, and mailed all the letters at the next port. He was discharged as an electrician's mate, second class, in December of 1945. He later joined the naval reserves in 1948, and stayed for thirty-six years, retiring as a chief petty officer. Stanley worked as an electrician. He also owns Notini's Restaurant in Bossier City.