Rear Admiral William Thompson was the first president and CEO of the Navy Memorial Foundation, which raised the funds to create the Navy Memorial. As a tribute to Thompson's work to bring the memorial to life, sculptor Stanley Bleifeld placed Thompson's initials and last name on the sea bag. The model for The Lone Sailor was Dan Maloney.[unreliable source?] Maloney modeled in 1984 or 1985 when he was a Petty Officer First Class assigned to the submarine USS Alabama. The Navy Times published Maloney's first person account of his selection and collaboration with Bleifeld on The Lone Sailor and Liberty Hound statues. The Liberty Hound is located on the Jacksonville, Florida waterfront. There were several earlier designs for The Lone Sailor but the versions created from those sessions were not approved. After the failed attempts using Navy Ceremonial Honor Guard models, Bleifeld asked New London Submarine Base for someone more typical.
As part of the casting process, the bronze for The Lone Sailor was mixed with artifacts from eight U.S. Navy ships, provided by the Naval Historical Center.
Washington, D.C., in the West Wing of the White House, a 24-inch replica is stationed at the entrance to the White House Mess. Presented to President Reagan in 1987 by the Navy Memorial Dedication Committee.