John H. “Jake” Schuffert – Master Sergeant, United States Air Force

From a contemporary press report:

John H. “Jake” Schuffert, 79, a retired Department of Defense graphics supervisor who was creator of “Here's Jake,” a popular cartoon feature in Airman magazine, died of cancer November 2, 1998 at his home in Alexandria, Virginia.

Mr. Schuffert's single-panel cartoons, which appeared in Airman for the last 50 years, poked fun at GIs and officers and often depicted everyday situations faced by service members. With comical characters and sardonic wit, Mr. Schuffert turned the bureaucracy of the Pentagon and the relationships between maintenance crews and pilots into the stuff of humor.

His most recent cartoons appear in this month's issue of Airman.

“I think the reason the cartoons are popular is because I was in the Air Force and understand the life of bluesuiter,” Mr. Schuffert said in an interview with Airman magazine in October.

He spent 23 years in the Air Force, retiring in 1963 as a master sergeant.  But not all of his time in the military could be used for fodder of the cartoon feature. Soon after enlisting in the Army Air Corps, he became an airborne
radio operator-gunner and was assigned to the 464th Bomb Group with the 15th Air Force in Africa and Italy. Aside from using his artistic talents to decorate the sides of aircraft with paintings, he had few outlets for his  creativity.

He flew 50 missions during World War II, including the famed bombing raids on the oil fields of Ploesti, Romania. When his B-24 became disabled, Mr. Schuffert and his crewmates bailed out of the plane, and they spent several months in Yugoslavia before making their way back to Italy.

Mr. Schuffert, a native of New Castle, Pa., once took correspondence courses in art and cartooning, and he began drawing cartoons for the Task Force Times, a newspaper for troops participating in the Berlin Airlift. He
also contributed cartoons to the Pacific Stars and Stripes and the Air Force Times.

By 1963, he left active military duty and began his civil service career, first as an illustrator with the Army Signal Corps at the Pentagon and then with the Air Force graphics office. He retired in 1986.

Survivors include his wife of 48 years, Dorothy Schuffert of Alexandria; two children, John Joseph Schuffert of Brunswick, Ga., and Pamela Schuffert of Alexandria; two brothers; and a sister.


On November 2, 1998, of Alexandria, VA, beloved husband of Dorothy Schuffert; father of Pamela and John Joseph Schuffert; brother of Walter and Henry Schuffert and Kate Rich, all of New Castle, PA. Services will
be held on December 3 at 11 a.m. at the Ft. Myer Chapel. Interment Columbarium at Arlington National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions to the Hospice of Northern Virginia, 4715 N. 15th St., Arlington, VA 22205.

Read our general and most popular articles

Leave a Comment