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David Nadel dies; WWII veteran, radio operator was 93

David Neil Nadel (standing), at Mitchel Field in

David Neil Nadel (standing), at Mitchel Field in Uniondale in the late 1940s, died March 4, 2015 at 93. The World War II veteran remained an active amateur radio operator until days before his death. Credit: Nadel family

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That's how word of the death of David Nadel -- a 93-year-old military veteran of World War II's Normandy invasion and longtime ham radio operator -- would have been broadcast in his beloved medium: Morse code.

Nadel, call sign KD2OY, died of a stroke, said his son and fellow radio aficionado, Hayden Mark Nadel (W2UFO). The elder Nadel died at Meadowbrook Care Center, a hospice in Freeport. In radio lingo, KD2OY became a silent key on March 4, which is what the dashes and dots above say.

Nadel mastered Morse code -- which is still used in some parts of the military -- during his nearly eight years in the Army and U.S. Army Air Corps, now the U. S. Air Force, after he enlisted and began his active service in May 1942. He was stationed in Newfoundland, Canada; England; France; and Scotland and took part in the Normandy campaign, which began on D-Day, June 6, 1944. The campaign is credited with helping the Allies gain a foothold in Europe and ultimately defeat Hitler.

He earned a bronze service star and a World War II Victory Ribbon, according to his military discharge papers. He ended his military career, in which he rose to the rank of technical sergeant, as a radio operator at Mitchel Field in Uniondale.

Ham radio operators use transmitters operating on various frequencies to communicate with other users. Depending on the time of day or night, the transmissions can reach around the world.

Nadel was part of the Long Island Mobile Amateur Radio Club, based in Levittown, one of the nation's biggest with about 400 members, according to former club president Richie Cetron of Old Bethpage.

The younger Nadel recounted his father communicating by voice and Morse code with radio operators from around the world, including the USSR at the height of the Cold War.

Weather small talk and radio shoptalk turned to politics, prompting a Soviet radio operator to observe, "I thought all politicians were idiots and the Soviet Union had them all," the son recalled.

David Neil Nadel was born in East New York on July 30, 1921, to Ida and William Nadel. He attended technical school at what is now DeVry University. He lived in Brooklyn public housing on Linden Boulevard until 1953 and joined a wave of veterans who emigrated to America's first suburb: Levittown. He would work as a sound technician, television repairman and engineer.

His wife of 65 years, the former Phyllis Meyers, died of lung cancer in 2009. In 2012, he moved in with his son, Hayden, of East Meadow, and daughter-in-law, who survive him, along with a grandchild.

The funeral was March 6 at Gutterman's of Rockville Centre, followed by burial at Beth Moses Cemetery in Pinelawn with full military honors.

Days before his death, he was on the air, on his Yaesu FT-590.

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