Courtesy of the U.S. Navy
Vice Admiral B. M. Kauderer

Jewish Generals and Admirals in America's Military

Vice Admiral B. M. Kauderer:
Commander, Submarine Force,
U.S. Pacific Fleet, and
Commander, Submarine Force,
U.S. Atlantic Fleet

by Seymour “Sy” Brody

From 1981 to 1986, Vice Admiral Kauderer had the unique responsibility of command of first the Pacific Fleet Submarine Force and then command of the Atlantic Fleet Submarine Force. He established a Jewish dynasty at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis through his son-in-law and three grandsons who followed in his footsteps.

He was born on July 21, 1931, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. While attending Central High School, he worked as a counselor for the Big Brothers of America. helping teenagers who were first offenders of the law.

Kauderer was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy and graduated in 1953. When he was a senior, his aunt introduced him to Myra Frances Weissman of Brooklyn, New York. Five dates later, they were engaged, and in March, 1954, they were married when he returned from his first (of many) overseas deployments. They had three children: Todd; Heidi; and Robin.

His initial assignment was as Navigator in USS The Sullivans (DD-537) in Newport, Rhode Island. He then became the Executive Officer in USS Hummingbird (MSC-192), a minesweeper in Charleston, South Carolina. In 1957, he attended Submarine School in New London, Connecticut. His first submarine assignment was in USS Raton (SSR-270) in San Diego, California. He was subsequently selected by Admiral Rickover for the Nuclear Power Program. After a year of Nuclear Engineering training, he served as Assistant Engineer in USS Robert E. Lee (SSBN-601), as Engineer Officer in USS Skipjack (SSN-585), and as Executive Officer in USS U.S. Grant (SSBN-631).

Kauderer served as Commanding Officer in USS Barb (SSN-596) in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, for four years, then as Commanding Officer of the Nuclear Power Training Unit in Idaho Falls, Idaho, and as Commanding Officer of USS Dixon (AS-37), a submarine tender, in San Diego. During his tour as Chief of Staff for Commander, Submarine Force, Atlantic Fleet, he was, in 1977, selected for Rear Admiral.

His first Flag assignment was as Commander, Submarine Group Five in San Diego. He then moved on to serve as Deputy Director, Research, Development, Test and Evaluation in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations in the Pentagon. From that assignment, he went on to serve as Submarine Force Commander.

Admiral Kauderer and his wife (Mickey) always maintained a traditional Jewish home for their family, which also served as an example of Judaism for their non-Jewish friends and associates. Their children received a Jewish education, and each had a bar or bat mitzvah. Their children have given them eight grandchildren.

Mickey Kauderer had the very special honor of being one of very few Jewish women selected to christen and launch a Navy ship, the nuclear attack submarine USS Annapolis (SSN-760). For that ceremony, Admiral Kauderer and Mickey selected a special Hebrew prayer to bless the ship, delivered by a rabbi before 14,000 people.

Vice Admiral Kauderer retired from active duty on August 1, 1986. He has received many awards and commendations: The Distinguished Service Medal; three Legions of Merit; The Meritorious Service Medal; and The Navy Commendation Medal. He received the Meritorious Public Service Award for his work as Vice Chairman, Undersea Warfare Committee of the National Security Industrial Association.

Upon retirement, he became a consultant to the government, industry and academia. He serves on the Advisory Board of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, which forms bonds between the leadership of the United States and Israeli armed services. He served as a Director of Friends of the Jewish Chapel, an organization responsible for the construction of the first Jewish Chapel at the Naval Academy. In 2007, Admiral Kauderer was honored with the Associates Award for his support of Hadassah Southern California.

He and his wife currently reside in California.

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