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Rear Admiral Draper L. Kauffman

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Rear Admiral Draper L. Kauffman
"The Father of Naval Combat Demolition"
(4 August 1911 – 18 August 1979


Who was Draper Kauffman and what was his contribution to the Naval warfare? Well Little will you know he is the "founder" of the US Navy Seals ,but technically the Navy Seals did not start till 1961 by the commissioning of the first two Seal Teams 1 and 2. So if you talk to a member of Seal Team 1 and 2 during that time period Team 1 will say they started first because they are stationed on the West Coast (Coronado, California.) ,but Team 2 will say the same thing because they are 3 hours ahead of Team 1 because they are stationed on the East Coast (Little Creek, VA). Now back to subject this is about the man that made it a reality!!.

Before War World Two (WW2) Job/Life

Kaufman attended the United States Naval Academy ,but if his father was not an Admiral in the US Navy he probably would not of got in because of his poor eyesight. Since one of the requirements was to have perfect vision: [Keep this in mind, this was before the invention of lasik surgery]. He was second in his class and Captain of the swim team. Upon his graduation from the Naval Academy(1933) he did not receive any office commision, not because of his poor eyesight as well we did not need anymore “Navy Officers” since we were not going to go to war anytime soon.
So he got a job working for the American Steamboat Company working in New York and then quickly transferred to their regional office in Paris, France. One day he had to attend a meeting in Germany, something fishy about that meeting made something click. Once he arrived back in Paris he wrote his father a letter saying, “I just came back from a meeting in Germany and the German’s are up to something, I need to get into the Navy.” His dad wrote back reassuring him that if Roosevelt gets elected we will not go back to that god forsaken place (Europe). Well sadly as we know through history we did end up back in Europe.

Battle for France [1940] (US Has not entered we the War still in a depression)

Now remember Draper is still in Paris and he is not the man known to sit around and watch paint to dry in the office. So he volunteers to drive ambulances for the French Army, well France falls and he gets captured by the Germans ,but the US is not at war yet so he signs a form saying that he will not bare arms against Adolf Hitler.


Before the ink is dry, he moves to England and is in a Royal Navy uniform helping England defeat Germany. Well his first placement was on a Submarine ,but that violated the terms about not baring arms against Adolf Hitler. So they put him in a Bomb Disposal Unit during the height of the Bombing of England,and achieved a high degree of proficiency in Bomb Disposal techniques. Once again keep in mind he has poor eyesight and is driving around in a truck with bombs that did not explode yet.

Pearl Harbor [1941]

  Was a surprise military strike conducted by the Imperial Japanese Navy against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on the morning of December 7, 1941 (December 8 in Japan). The attack was intended as a preventive action in order to keep the U.S. Pacific Fleet from interfering with military actions the Empire of Japan was planning in Southeast Asia against overseas territories of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and the United States. (Taken from Wikipedia).  A Small excerpt from Wikipedia to explain what happen at Pearl Harbor if anyone did not know.

Draper Kauffman USN Officer and Commission

As a result from the bombing of Pearl Harbor, he was sent there to defuse bombs once again since, he was the only one in the United-States Navy that had bomb disposal experience at that time. There he earned his first of two Naval Crosses. But when I was talking to a member of UDT (Underwater Demolition Team), he told me that rumor has it that Kauffman was not the one defusing the bombs, he was in the bunker a few miles away radioing to people on what wire to cut while he was looking at diagrams. Well since he had the bomb disposal experience and we we knew that Germany were setting up traps on the beaches he started  EOD school where now Eglin AFB sits today in Florida.

Invasion of Normandy June 6, 1944 (NCDU)


Some people say that it was UDT(Underwater Demolition Team), that set off the charges that paved the way during the beachfront, well that is not necessarily true, there are mixed reports ,but  it was msotly members of NCDU which were  composed of 6 men [1 Officer, and 5 enlistment men]. Well 180 of them went into Normandy only 85-89 (52% casualty Rate) made it alive. Since they were not design to swim, they went in during low tide right before the invasion and set off there explosives.  Navy says we can’t take those losses.
UDT(Underwater Demolitions Teams) to Present

http://images.debbie...iJ6Q&nmid=0Meet Freddy the Frog the mascot/emblem for UDT.

Fort Pierce UDT Training

Draper Kauffman, was able to choose any base in America and he chose Fort Pierce. But why did he choose dinky Fort Pierce. Well the beaches were suited to what he was looking for ,and that you could swim year round. To advertise to get sailors to become interested in the program, he said, “If you hate your job in the Navy come to Fort Pierce”.  Once a sailor arrive at the train station instead of having a ride waiting for you, it was a 5mile walk to base. Once arrived at base you were taken out 5 miles off shore and was told to swim back to base. Most of the same techniques that were used for UDT training are used today in BUDS (Basic Underwater Demolition School).

  During WW2, 34 UDT Teams were formed ,but the 31,32,33,34 teams were dissolved since Japan surrendered.  But Teams 1-30 all helped and pave the way for future engagement. Latter I will include another post about the different vehicles that UDT members used as well as what are some of the items that Seals are using on the war on Terror on this day of age.
Side note: UDT Team 13 “Lucky 13”. Did not have a member that was KIA while in action.

If you would like to read more information about the UDT and Draper Kauffman, Click the link to view the book, since it was written by Kauffmans Daughter.
And If you have any questions I will try to answer them to the best of my ability.
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