WWII Navy Veteran of both the European and Asiatic Theater of War
Eddy Duchin entered the U.S. Navy during World War II, serving as a combat officer in a destroyer squadron in the Pacific.
Duchin enlisted in the Navy in 1942 and requested combat duty. Because he had perfect pitch, he was trained in the use of submarine-detecting devices at the Naval Training School at Northwestern University in Illinois and at a Submarine Chaser School. After a few months' service on patrol boats, he attended Sound School and was then assigned to Destroyer Escort work as a Sound Officer and took part in the D-Day operations off Normandy in 1944. His ship also participated in Third Fleet Pacific operations, including the Iwo Jima and Okinawa invasions. After a course at the Commanding Officers' School at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, Duchin was named Operations Officer for a destroyer squadron and, at the end of 1945, was discharged as a Lieutenant Commander. His awards included: Navy Commendation ribbon with Combat "V", Combat Action ribbon, American Area Campaign medal, the European-Africa-Middle Eastern Area Campaign medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Area Campaign medal, and the World War II Victory medal.
After Duchin's return to civilian life, the Navy still held a special place in his memory. A Lieutenant Commander upon his separation in 1945, Duchin made his services available over and over again for the Navy Department and its recruiting efforts.
Eddy Duchin continued to help the Navy after World War II
Eddy Duchin Show was one of several Navy Department and Armed Forces Radio Service (AFRS) contributions that Duchin made on behalf of armed forces recruiting. The Eddy Duchin Show was particularly attractive in several respects: his orchestra headlined the series, it featured the finest vocalists of the era, and it offered a tribute or salute to a different facet of Naval Operations during every program. Polished, well-paced, and patriotic, all thirteen 15-minute programs were--and remain--a treat to the listener. Veteran announcer Ken Roberts introduced and closed every program. The opening introduced the featured vocalist for the evening, offered a tribute to a particular arm or installation of the Navy, then smoothly segued into Eddy's opening number. Eddy and Ken would then discuss a particular Naval career before launching into Duchin's second piece of the evening, often accompanied by regular vocalist, Tommy Mercer.
On February 9, 1951, Eddy Duchin died at age 41 in New York City of acute myelogenous leukemia. Although he was Jewish, Eddy Duchin was cremated and his ashes scattered by a Navy fighter plane over the Atlantic Ocean.
Edwin Frank Duchin was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Sources are divided as to whether his birth occurred on 1 April 1909 or 10 April 1910. The son of Ukranian Jewish immigrants, he first became a pharmacist before turning full-time to music and beginning his new career with Leo Reisman's orchestra at the Central Park Casino in New York, an elegant nightclub where he became hugely popular in his own right and eventually became the Reisman orchestra's leader by 1932. He became widely popular thanks to regular radio broadcasts that boosted his record sales, and he was one of the earliest pianists to lead a commercially successful large band.
Eddy Duchin, 'Magic Finger' Pianist, Dies
NEW YORK--(AP)--Eddy Duchin, whose mastery of the piano keyboard delighted millions of Americans, died here Friday night only a few hours after the navy cited him for his World War II combat record.
Rear Admiral Walter S. Delany, commandant of the Third naval district, delivered the citation personally Friday to Duchin, 41, who was a patient at Memorial hospital.
Duchin enlisted in the navy eight years ago. He served on destroyers in some of the toughest engagements of both the Atlantic and Pacific. In 1945 he was discharged as a lieutenant commander.
His losing battle against leukemia--a form of cancer of the blood--started several months ago. The hospital said he had been a frequent patient recently.
At his bedside when he died was his wife and a sister.