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FFG 59 Kauffman

After nearly 28 years of Naval service, friends, family members, former and present crewmembers will gather at Naval Station Norfolk to decommission USS Kauffman (FFG 59), Norfolk's last Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate, 18 September 2015. With the Kauffman decommissioning, USS Simpson (FFG 56) became the last Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate in the Navy. The Mayport, Florida-based ship was slated for decommissioning, 29 September 2015.

Kauffman's final deployment to the U.S. 4th Fleet area of responsibility, in support of Operation Martillo, brought a suiting end to the ship's Navy career when the crew seized nearly 20,000 pounds of illicit narcotics. Operation Martillo is a joint U.S., European and Western Hemisphere partner nation effort targeting illicit trafficking routes in Central and South American waters.

In the 28 years of service, USS Kauffman gave its nation, the ship and its crews more than 20 deployments in the Middle East, Africa, Mediterranean Sea and Caribbean Sea, with notable contributions to counter-narcotics and counter-piracy missions. Kauffman also played a diplomatic role as one of only a handful of American warships to visit the Soviet Union.

Frigates were designed to provide anti-submarine warfare support and protection of shipping missions for amphibious expeditionary forces, underway replenishment groups and merchant convoys. Known for being a tough and robust platform, a total of 54 frigates were built from 1976 to 1988, at both Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine, and Todd Shipyards, Seattle.

The coat of arms honors the aggregate naval service of Vice Admiral James L Kauffman and his son, Rear Admiral Draper L Kauffman. Both father and son were awarded the Navy Cross, symbolised by the two crosses on the white and blue portions of the shield. Dark blue and gold are the colors traditionally associated with the Navy and denote the sea and excellence. The heraldic dolphin, resting below a wavy line, is symbolic of vigilance and maritime power, and also alludes to affiliation of both men with sub-surface naval missions, such as the elder Kauffman's formulation of World War II anti-submarine strategies and his son's establishment of the Navy's first Underwater Demolition Team.

The trident, symbolic of sea power, alludes to Vice Admiral Kauffman's World War I career when he spent more time in command, and more time at sea, than any other officer of his time, and for which he received a second Legion of Merit. The bomb represents the achievements of Rear Admiral Kauffman as a bomb disposal expert and organizer of World War II Bomb Disposal School for both the Navy and the Army. The lightning bolts reflect the insignia worn by naval personnel in their professional ordinance specialties associated with the areas Rear Admiral Kauffman was instrumental in establishing. The blue stars on the laurel wreath refer to each man's rank, three stars for Vice Admiral Kauffman and two stars for Rear Admiral Kauffman. The scroll holds the French for "Always in the Lead."

The guided-missile frigate USS Kauffman (FFG 59), departed Naval Station Norfolk 11 January 2015 for the ship's final deployment, operating in the U.S. 4th Fleet area of responsibility. Kauffman's final deployment also marks the last scheduled deployment by any Oliver Hazard Perry-Class frigate and in September the ship will be the last operationally-active frigate to decommission. At that time, the only remaining frigate in the U.S. Navy will be USS Constitution, Navy's ambassador that was launched in 1797 and remains the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world.

Draper L. Kauffman

Born on August 4, 1911, Draper L. Kauffman graduated from the U. S. Naval Academy in 1933. His poor eyesight, however, denied him a commission in the regular Navy. Stationed by a steamship line at their Paris office at the outbreak of WWII, Kauffman left the company and joined the American Volunteer Ambulance Corps in France in February 1940. For his service to France he was awarded the Croix de Guere. He soon joined the British forces 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) ha served as a bomb disposal officer, achieving a high degree of proficiency in bomb disposal techniques. In November 1941, LT Draper L. Kauffman, RNVR, was on leave in Washington, D.C. He was soon commissioned a Lieutenant in the United States Naval Reserve. It was during this time period the Bureau of Ordnance was pursuing the idea of setting up a Bomb Disposal School. At a staff meeting of BUORD, a Captain van Auken advised Admiral Blandy, CHBUORD, that a U. S. Naval Academy graduate who was thoroughly trained in bomb disposal as a British naval officer was in Washington. Because of his experience in bomb disposal in England, Kauffman was ordered to establish a Navy school for the purpose of teaching bomb disposal techniques to U. S. Navy Personnel. To assist him in his first assignment with the U. S. Navy, Kauffman selected then LT(jg) Means Johnston (Johnston later became a four-star admiral) as his executive officer. He immediately started his recruiting efforts by conducting talks and interviews with personnel attending the midshipman schools at Northwestern and Columbia Universities. LT Kauffman inspired large numbers of students to volunteer, from which he picked potential students for his first two classes. The Northwestern students arrived first and the Columbia students made up Class 1B. At times the classes were run together on account of having only one instructor. He convened his first class on January 23, 1942 at the Washington, D. C. Navy Yard, and served as the Bomb Disposal School's first Officer In Charge until May 1943. Some of the ordnance items located at NAVSCOLEOD, and used to teach today's EOD Technicians were those collected by LT Kauffman and his students.

A very junior Lieutenant spot promoted to Lieutenant for the job as Officer in Charge - LT Thomas L. Boardman, USNR, relieved Kauffman.

LT Kauffman remained at the school until June or July 1943 utilizing it as his headquarters while he was busy organizing and developing plans for the establishment of the Navy Combat Demolition Unit School to be located at Fort Pierce, Florida. These Units would later be known as the Underwater Demolition Teams or UDT. Kauffman passed away in August 1979.

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Page last modified: 10-05-2017 12:55:58 ZULU