In gratitude of his service and sacrifice, the Westhampton Free Library paid tribute to Judge Dominic Lodato, a World War II veteran, at a ceremony on June 22 as part of its Hometown Heroes initiative.
During the ceremony, held at the Westhampton VFW Hall and attended by fellow veterans, library representatives and public officials, Lodato was presented with a proclamation from Sen. Ken LaValle and Congressmen Lee Zeldin and an American flag that was flown over the library.
Lodato’s father had served in the Navy in World War I, so following in his father’s footsteps, he enlisted in the Navy right after he graduated Boys High School in Brooklyn in 1943. He was only 17.
He was sent to Newport, Rhode Island for basic training and was soon accepted into Quartermaster School at the Newport Naval Base where he studied navigation, signaling and map reading.
He then volunteered for serving with the Motor Torpedo boats and was assigned to Squadron 34 and was shipped oversees.
Lodato spent nine days on a large troop ship, carrying 4,000 soldiers that zip and zigzagged across the ocean for fear of a U-Boat attack. He was then assigned to PT Boat 507, part of the Squadron 34, which consisted of 12 PT boats.
He arrived in Normandy after D-Day in July 1944. The area was still buzzing with activity and the job of the PT boats was to keep the German E-boats away.
When the Germans surrendered, Lodato was sent back to the base in Melville. He was then shipped to Charleston, Massachusetts where he trained Merchant Marines seamen to read charts and identify the locations of minefields.
After the way, he came home and furthered his education. He attended Siena College and graduated in 1950 with a Bachelor of Art in sociology, a pre-law degree. He graduated from Brooklyn Law School in 1953 and set out to practice law. He served as a trial lawyer for 19 years, specializing in cases involving personal injury, real estate and contracts. For 12 years, he was a partner in the firm of Hauptman, Mangano and Lodato.
He went on to serve on the bench in 1975. He also served on the board of the NYU Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn and as interim president.
The Westhampton Free Library thanks Dominic Lodato for his service to the country and community.