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History of the Lone Sailor

Who is the Lone Sailor?

The Lone Sailor signifies the men and women who have served, are serving, or will serve in the Navy. He’s called the Lone Sailor, yet he is hardly ever alone. He is about 25 years old, a senior second class petty officer who is fast becoming a seagoing veteran. He has done it all -- fired weapons in war, provided humanitarian assistance in far-away lands, been attacked by the enemy and defended our freedom. He has made liberty calls in great cities and tiny villages where he was a tourist, ambassador, adventurer, friend and missionary to those less fortunate. His shipmates remember him with pride and look up to him with respect.


 Artifacts from 8 U.S. Navy ships, including the USS Hancock, were melted into the bronze during the casting process.

Artifacts from 8 U.S. Navy ships, including the USS Hancock, were melted into the bronze during the casting process.

Creative Concept to Casting

The Lone Sailor statue was sculpted by Stanley Bleifeld. He served as an enlisted man in the Navy during World War II, being assigned to illustrate Navy training manuals. Bleifeld believed the Lone Sailor should represent Sailors around the world. To achieve this, he did not use a single model – he used multiple models to create the Lone Sailor we know and love today.

Rear Admiral William Thompson, USN (Ret.), was the first president and CEO of the Navy Memorial. He wanted a figure that would stand out “above” the crowd, but only slightly larger than life size. This would allow visitors, including children, to relate to him and take photographs by the side. The Lone Sailor statue now stands proudly at 7 feet tall in different locations around the world.

 The Lone Sailor statue also includes a fragment of the USS Maine.

The Lone Sailor statue also includes a fragment of the USS Maine.

The original Lone Sailor statue took command of his place at the Navy Memorial in Washington, DC, over 30 years ago. It was casted at the Tallix Foundry in New York, which is owned by Mr. Richard Polich. Polich was a commissioned naval officer in the late 1950’s – a fitting partner for the Navy Memorial.

Artifacts from eight U.S. Navy ships were melted into the bronze during the casting process. The statue includes various fragments from the USS Constitution, USS Constellation, USS Maine, USS Biloxi, USS Hancock, USS Seawolf, USS Nautilus, and the steamer Hartford. These ships span the Navy’s history and will forever be a part of the Lone Sailor legacy.

The Lone Sailor statue was unveiled at the Navy Memorial’s dedication on Oct. 13th, 1987.

Did You Know?

  • Stanley Bleifeld used a painted version of the Lone Sailor as a prototype. He sculpted the figure in clay at his home in Connecticut.

  • The Lone Sailor was included in one of the original designs proposed by Bleifeld for the Navy Memorial. It was nearly eliminated, until someone stated “Keep the Lone Sailor!”

  • There are 15 Lone Sailor statues around the world, including the original at the Navy Memorial in Washington, DC.