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A Tribute


Admiral Draper Laurence KaffmanAdmiral Draper Kauffman

Draper Kauffman is well known as the US Navy’s Founding Frogman, Father of Navy Special Warfare’s UDT/SEAL.  However, less known but equally important is that he is also credited as a Founding Father 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, 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 and volunteered for the Royal Navy Unexploded Bomb Department.
  • 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 EOD 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 Toyko 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. In 1946, Kauffman participated in some of the first Bikini Atoll nuclear tests. August 1946, organized and commanded the U.S. Navy Radiological Safety School.
1948, Kauffman took command of his first Destroyer, the USS Gearing. Eventually promoted to Admiral, Kaufman’s last tour of duty was as Commandant of the Ninth Naval District, the Great Lakes Naval Training Center 

Source: America’s First Frogman: The Drapper Kauffman Story 

- Elizabeth Kauffman Bush

"Those who do not create the future they want must endure the future they get"

-Draper L. Kauffan



Draper Kauffman