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SCUBAPRO Sunday – Draper Kaufman the Godfather of UDTs/SEALS

On August 4 we celebrate Rear Admiral (ret) Draper Laurence Kauffman birthday. Admiral Kauffman is credited with starting the Underwater Demolishing Teams and being the first U.S. frogman. He is called the father or Godfather of the SEALS teams.

He graduated from the US Naval Academy in 1933. But because he had bad eyesight, he was made a reserve officer. At the start of WWII, he volunteered for the America Volunteer Ambulance Corp in Paris. During the German blitz of London, he severed as a bomb disposal officer. One month before Pearl Harbor he returned to the U.S. and joined the Naval Reserve. He is credited with inventing Motivation week, better known as Hell Week in Basic Underwater Demolition / SEAL training (BUD/S). Just that last accomplishment is worthy of calling him the Godfather.



5 Responses to “SCUBAPRO Sunday – Draper Kaufman the Godfather of UDTs/SEALS”

  1. Nick says:

    This leaves out about half of his career, namely the start of the EOD program for the Navy. Gotta cover the SEALs I suppose.

    • ER says:

      That is why I had the two links that talk about him more in-depth. The other services had EOD programs. No one had a program like the UDT. I am not taking away from EOD. BUD/S was a new way of training, and no one had a program like this. I didnt talk about him being captured by the Germans in France. Again I have links that talk about all of the things he had done

  2. Ed says:

    Never heard of Draper Kaufman referred to as the “Godfather” to the UDT’s. He created the UDT’t and was the fore-father to modern Naval EOD. I know it’s only a word but it is very misplaced. Even though the Team’s have a very mafia-ish family style, we were all baptized in Hellweek by many teammates, not just one!

    • ER says:

      Ed he invented Hell week. So all that have been baptized in Hell week is because of him. I look at the word as more of an honor then a mafia thing. He did more to set UDT/SEAL teams apart by this one thing then anyone else.

  3. LP says:

    I met a 93 year old frogman at a diner in Spartanburg, SC. During our conversation I asked if he knew Draper Kauffman. The gentleman responded that he knew Commander Kauffman. It was awesome to hear him refer to a legend with the title he had in WW2.

    It was phenomenal to hear the old timer’s story. One of my favorite “celebrity” encounters to this day.