Captain Draper L. Kauffman, U. S. N.

Captain Draper Laurence Kauffman was born in San Diego, California, on August 4, 1911. He graduated from the U. S. Naval Academy in 1933. He was then employed by the U. S. Lines steamship Company until 1940, when he joined the American Volunteer ambulance corps with the French army. From September, 1940, to November, 1941, he served with the Royal Navy as a bomb and mine disposal officer.

In November of 1941, Captain Kauffman was appointed Lieutenant in the U. S. Naval Reserve and served with the Bureau of Ordnance, Washington, D. C. He organized a Naval Bomb Disposal School in 1942 and in 1943, organized the famed Underwater Demolition Teams which later became the world-famous U. S. Navy SEALs, of which he is considered the founder.

Captain Kauffman's post-war duties included duty in Operation Cross-Roads at Bikini; Gunnery Officer of the USS VALLEY FORGE; commanding Officer of the USS GEARING (DD-710); Strategy and Tactics Staff of the Naval War college; commander, Destroyer Division 122; aide to the Under-Secretary of the Navy; Commanding Officer of the USS BEXAR (APA-237); and Fleet Plans Officer For Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet.

He was awarded the Navy Cross for extraordinary heroism and leadership during the disposal of an unexploded 500 pound bomb after the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor.

Captain and Mrs. Kauffman, the former Miss Margaret Cary Tuckerman, of Bethseda, Maryland, have three children: Margaret Cary, Draper Laurence, Jr. and Edith Kelsey Kauffman.

Captain Kauffman assumed command of the USS HELENA on April 23, 1960, at Guam, Marianas Islands.

In July of 1960, Kauffman was selected as Rear Admiral. In 1962, he became Chief of the Strategic Plans and Policy Division.

In 1965, he became the 44th Superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy, where he served for three years.

His next assignment was as the Commander of the U.S. Naval Forces in the Philippines, and Representative of the Commander-in-Chief, Pacific,
a billet once filled 25 years earlier by his father.

On 1 June 1973, Admiral Kauffman retired from the Navy. He passed away on 18 August 1979, at age 88.

Part of this bio was copied from the USS Helena CA-75, 1959-1960 cruise book and part was provided by shipmate Harold F. Zimmerman.
Harold served on the USS Helena CA-75 in OI Division as an RD2 . 1959 - 1960.

Commanding Officers