HistoryBorn in Ohio on 18 April 1887, James Laurence Kauffman attended Pennsylvania Military College, the Army and Navy Preparatory School, and graduated in 1908 from the U.S. Naval Academy.

He held a variety of wide-ranging command billets, ashore and afloat, during World War I. Serving in command of the gunboat RANIER, as an Executive Officer of the destroyer CALDWELL, he became Lieutenant Commander on 1 January 1918. He transferred from the CALDWELL to command the Bath-built USS JENKINS (DD 42). Admiral Kauffman, during his career, spent more time in command, and more time at sea, than any other officer of his time.

At the end of the war, Kauffman returned to the U.S. to commission and command a new ship, the USS BARNEY (DD 149). In November of 1920, he became the Executive Officer of the new Radio Division of the Bureau of Engineering. In May of 1923, he was appointed Naval Aide and Flag Secretary to Admiral S. S. Robinson, Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Fleet.

In June of 1925, Kauffman was selected to the rank of Commander. His next tour of duty was as a member of the U.S. Naval Mission to Brazil. Appointed Captain in 1936, Kauffman served as Commanding Officer of the USS MEMPHIS, and later at the shipyard at Mare Island.

In 1941, Rear Admiral Kauffman was sent by President Roosevelt to establish and command a Naval Operating Base in Iceland. In 1942, as the principal Navy anti-submarine expert, he commanded the Gulf Sea Frontier, which included the Gulf of Mexico north to the shore of the Carolinas. Under his dynamic leadership, the U-boat menace in that area was checked. Kauffman later became the senior member of the Allied Anti-Submarine Survey Board, evaluating ASW techniques for Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill. Moving on to the Pacific in 1943, he assumed command of all the Pacific Fleet's cruisers, destroyers and frigates, 401 ships with 150,000 men.

In October 1944, he reported to General Douglas McArthur as Commander Philippine Sea Frontier. In May of 1946, Vice Admiral Kauffman returned home and was assigned to duty as the Commandant of the Fourth Naval District, where he remained until he retired in 1949.

His second career began the day after termination of his first. As the first President of Jefferson Medical College and Jefferson Medical Center, a position he retained for 10 years, he presided over the greatest period of growth in Jefferson's history.

He was married to the former Elizabeth Kelsey Draper for nearly 54 years. Their daughter, Elizabeth Louise, married Prescott S. Bush, Jr. Their son, Rear Admiral Draper Laurence Kauffman, married the former Margaret C. Tuckerman.


Born on 4 August 1911, Draper Laurence Kauffman graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1933. Poor eyesight denied him a commission in the regular Navy. Employed by the United States Line Steamship Company, his travels in Europe alerted him to the danger of Nazi Germany. In February 1940, he joined the American Volunteer Ambulance Corps in France. On 16 June, he was captured by the Germans and held prisoner for two months. Released in August, he made his way to England and was commissioned a sub-Lieutenant in the British Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve, later rising to Lieutenant. At the height of the Blitz on London (1940 - 41), he served as a bomb and mine disposal officer, and achieved a high degree of proficiency in bomb disposal techniques.

Securing a U.S. Naval Reserve commission a month before Pearl Harbor, Kauffman was rushed to Hawaii after the Japanese attack, and there disarmed an enemy bomb, the first to be recovered intact for study.

After establishing bomb disposal schools for the Navy and the Army. LT. Commander Kauffman in 1943 organized the Navy's first demolition units - later to be known as Underwater Demolition Teams. After commanding all UDTs in the invasion of Saipan, Tinian and Guam, Commander Kauffman planned and directed UDTs operations at Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

His first postwar assignment came in February 1946 when he was assigned to Joint Task Force One, the organization which conducted Operation CROSSROADS, the atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll. Later under the CNO, as head of the Defense and Protection Section, he established the U.S. Navy Radiological Safety School, and aided in setting-up a comparable school for the Army.

In 1954, Captain Kauffman served in the Strategic Plans Division under the CNO, and in 1955 was appointed Aide to Secretary of the Navy, Thomas S. Gates, Jr.

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.

Rear Admiral Kauffman married the former Margaret Cary Tuckerman on 1 May 1943. They had three children: Margaret Cary, Draper Laurence, Jr., and Edith Kelsey.