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Zero Point And Kopis Mobile Pay Homage To Draper Kauffman – Part 1

Draper Kauffman Tribute

In a 3-part series to honor the Father of US Navy EOD and US Navy UDT/SEAL, Zero Point and Kopis Mobile will pay tribute to Admiral Draper Lawrence Kauffman by presenting a few key bullets from his remarkable career, unveiling a few custom designs attributed to his exploits, as well as working up donations to contribute to SOWF and EODWF. Don’t miss it – and visit their booth to find out more at SOFIC – Booth #1818.

Draper Kauffman

Draper Kauffman (left) as a Sub Lt RNVR after defuzing a German bomb

Part 1 of 3: Draper Kauffman Aug.4, 1911 – Aug.18, 1979 – America’s first Twin Pin (EOD/SEAL)

Draper Kauffman is well-known as US Navy’s Founding Frogman forming the Naval Combat Demolition Units (NCDU), early predecessor to Navy’s Special Warfare’s UDT/SEAL. However, less known but equally important is he is also credited as a Founding Father of US Navy EOD. This is a small tribute to a Naval Officer, Leader, Visionary, Patriot, and a true American Hero.

• Graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1933. Denied commission as a “regular” officer due to poor eyesight.

• Following his denied commission, Kauffman joined the United States Steamship Lines in an effort to assist in what he felt would be the inevitable war against Germany.

• 10 May 1940: volunteered as an ambulance driver for the French Army in a region of Alsace-Lorraine, just 10 miles from France’s “impenetrable” Maginot Line.

• 22 June 1940: captured by the Germans with his ambulance co-drivers and became a WWII POW. Repatriated several months later.

• Holder of the France’s Croix de Guerre.

• Late 1940, became a member of England’s Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve. Volunteered for the Royal Navy Unexploded Bomb Department shortly afterwards.

• December 1941, one of the first to defuse a Japanese UXO. Awarded his first Navy Cross.

• 1942 Jan 04: LT Kauffman returns to Washington D.C. and established the US Navy Bomb Disposal School; 1942 Jan 23 First U.S. Navy Bomb Disposal class convened at Washington Navy Yard.

• 1944, Kauffman drew from the ranks of the US Navy Bomb Disposal School to begin what would be the predecessor of UDT/SEAL, Naval Combat Demolition Unit.

• Later in 1944 and ’45, Kauffman would conduct several combat demolition operations in the Pacific Theater, earning his second Navy Cross for actions specific to Saipan.

• Just prior to the surrender of the Japanese in Tokyo Bay, Kauffman led a team to ensure the bay was safe from possible kamikaze boat attacks during the surrender ceremony.

• 13 October 1945: the UDT veil of secrecy was lifted when a Saturday Evening Post article entitled “They Hit the Beach in Swim Trunks” was published.

• In 1946, 13 years after graduating Naval Academy, Kauffman finally became a Regular Naval Officer.

• 1946, Kauffman participated in some of the first Bikini Atoll nuclear tests.

• August 1946, organized and commanded the U.S. Navy Radiological Safety School.

• 1947, Finally became a Line Officer in the Regular Navy.

• 1948, Kauffman took command of his first Destroyer, the USS Gearing.

• 1960, Promoted to Admiral.

• 1970, Last tour of duty was as Commandant of the Ninth Naval District, Great Lakes Naval Training Center.

Multiple Sources: America’s First Frogman – Elizabeth Kauffman Bush, Wikipedia, Retired Naval Colleagues

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3 Responses to “Zero Point And Kopis Mobile Pay Homage To Draper Kauffman – Part 1”

  1. cimg says:

    Cool bit of EOD/UDT history! Interesting going from the Academy in 1933 to finally getting Line Officer in 1947! Only took 14 years and a WAR!

  2. BoatSchooler says:

    He’s buried at the Academy right next to a close friend of mine. Two super cool beach gods separated by more than 80 years and less than a few feet of grass.

  3. Chausser1814 says:

    Another bit of trivia, ADM Kauffman’s father was also an Admiral and his brother-in-law was Prescott Bush Jr., brother of George H.W. Bush our 41st President