Captain Gary A. Gradisnik passed to Eternal Life Sunday, January 8, 2023, age 74 years. Husband of Camille Gradisnik. Dear brother of Toni Anne Gradisnik. Father of Scott (Yvonne) Gradisnik and Kate (Bill) Breslow. Step-father of Scott Shirey, Leslie (Bob) Collins, and Jody (Michelle) Shirey. Special friend of Colleen Courtney. Preceded in death by his parents Anthony and Shirley Gradisnik. Also survived by other relatives and many friends.

Captain Gary A. Gradisnik is a native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and a 1966 graduate of Marquette University High School. He attended the United States Naval Academy, graduating with distinction in 1970.

After completing nuclear power school, nuclear prototype, and submarine school, he reported to USS Thomas A. Edison (SSSBN610). There he served as Electrical Officer, Interior Communications Officer, Damage Control Assistant, Chemistry-Radiological Controls Assistant and Main Propulsion Assistant through three Polaris deterrent patrols and a refueling overhaul.

He subsequently completed a tour of duty as Radiological Controls Officer at the Naval Submarine Base, Pearl Harbor. After completing the Submarine Officer Advanced Course, he served as Navigator/Operations Officer on USS Greenling (SSN614) through two deployments to the Mediterranean Sea and a “UNITAS” deployment to South America. In 1982, he was assigned as Executive Officer of USS Patrick Henry (SSN599), and operated the boat in the Pacific until its decommissioning in 1984.

In February 1985, Captain Gradisnik assumed command of USS Plunger (SSN595). During his three-year tour of duty, the USS Plunger completed two deployments to the Western Pacific and earned the Submarine Squadron 3 Battle Efficiency “E”, a Meritorious Unit Commendation, and the Pacific Fleet Marjorie Sterrett Battleship Fund Award.

After a brief period as Submarine Squadron 3 Chief Staff Officer, Captain Gradisnik completed a joint service tour as the Navy Operations Branch Head for Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Command. He then attended the National War College at Fort McNair in Washington D.C., Graduation in June 1992.

Following a six-month period as Submarine Squadron 17 Deputy Commander for Training Operations, Captain Gradisnik reported to the Supervisor of Shipbuilding at Electric Boat in Groton, Connecticut to command the USS Maine (SSBN741). Upon commissioning, Captain Gradisnik assumed Command of the Blue Crew where he set records during the post-commissioning testing. His crew received the highest grades ever recorded for a newly commissioned submarine in the Operational Reactor Safeguards Examination (ORSE), Tactical Readiness Evaluation (TRE), Logistics Readiness Evaluation (LRE) and Mk 48/ADCAP Acceptance Inspection.

Captain Gradisnik is entitled to wear the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with one gold star, Navy Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, Navy Expeditionary Medal, and National Defense Medal.

Visitation Monday, January 16, 2023 at St. Therese Catholic Church (9525 W. Bluemound Rd. Milwaukee, WI 53226-4452) 9:00 AM until time of Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 AM. Interment Holy Cross Cemetery at 2:30 PM. Please meet at the cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials to St. Therese Catholic Church appreciated (Click on church name to go to Donation Site). Please enter "In Memory of Gary Gradisnik" in the comments section.

Updated:20 January 2023
Curator: Ed Moore