Early career and World War II
Dulacki was born on December 29, 1918, in Omaha, Nebraska, as the son of Stanley and Anna (Jurczak) Dulacki, first generation Polish immigrants. He graduated from Omaha South High School in summer 1936 and subsequently enrolled at Creighton University. During his time at the university, Dulacki was active in golf and the chemistry club, and also served as president of the Polish Club and Student Union Board of Governors. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in June 1941 and was commissioned a reserve second lieutenant within ROTC unit.
Dulacki resigned his reserve commission in order to accept an appointment as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps on September 2, 1941. Dulacki was subsequently ordered to the Basic School at Philadelphia Navy Yard for basic officer training which he completed in November of that year. He was subsequently attached to the Marine detachment aboard the newly commissioned aircraft carrier USS Hornet under Captain Marc Mitscher. At the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hornet trained out of Norfolk.
Dulacki served aboard the Hornet during the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo in April 1942 and was promoted to the rank of first lieutenant in September of that year. He was aboard when the carrier participated in the Battle of Midway in June 1942, and later when it was sunk during the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands on October 26, 1942. He was rescued by escorting destroyers and sent to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii where he was promoted to the rank of captain in March 1943. Dulacki assumed command of the Marine detachment aboard the newly commissioned light aircraft career USS Belleau Wood and took part in the Gilbert and Marshall Islands and Mariana and Palau Islands campaigns during 1944. He was promoted to the rank of major in January 1944. Dulacki subsequently took part in the Battle of the Philippine Sea, during which Belleau Wood was severely damaged by a kamikaze in October 1944.
Belleau Wood sailed for Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, California, for repairs in November of that year and Dulacki was detached from the ship in early 1945. He was then ordered to Kansas City, Missouri, as officer in charge of the local Marine Corps recruiting office.