Roland Phillip Kauffman – Rear Admiral, United States Navy


Won Silver Star for Bravery Fighting Fire on Intrepid
Had Been Aviator
October 5, 1959

Rear Admiral Roland Phillip Kauffman, U.S.N., retired, died early Saturday morning at the Fourteen Hotel, 14 East Sixtieth Street, New York City.  He was 60 years old.  His body was found in a self-service elevator when it reached the ground floor about 2:50 A.M.

Admiral Kauffman had been at the hotel for four days.  He had listed his address as 200 East Bravo Way, Palm Beach, Florida, but it was understood that he intended to make his home in New York.

Admiral Kauffman had been a naval aviator for more that a quarter-century when he retired on December 1, 1952.  But it was as Deck Officer of a repeatedly battered aircraft carrier that he won the nation’s third highest award for gallantry in action.

During the Battle of Leyte Gulf on November 25, 1944, then a Commander and serving as Executive Officer of the Intrepid, Admiral Kauffman discovered that a fire had started by a Japanese suicide plane was threatening the ship’s rockets, which had been ready for firing. He directed the removal of the rockets and the fighting of the fire.

He was awarded the Silver Star for “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity” in helping to prevent what might otherwise have been a major explosion on the ship.

Born in St. Louis, Admiral Kauffman attended the United States Naval Academy and was a football player, wrestler and a member of the track team before his graduation in 1922.  After sea duty, he was assigned to the Naval Air Station at Pensacola, Florida, and learned to fly there.

Among his commands in the years before World War II was that of the United States Navy Reserve Aviation Base at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, New York. While there, he married Miss Mary Charlotte Benzell of New York on April 13, 1939.

Admiral Kauffman later commanded destroyers and the cruiser Tangier and served several tours with the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations in Washington.

In 1950 he was Chief of the Naval Section of the Military Assistance Advisory Group in Paris.  After his retirement in 1952, as a Captain, he was promoted to Rear Admiral because of his combat award.

Admiral Kauffman had served as Vice President of the Camden, New Jersey, Forge Company.


  • DATE OF BIRTH: 05/11/1899
  • DATE OF DEATH: 10/03/1959

Read our general and most popular articles

Leave a Comment