Vice Admiral Emory Scott Land
On October 1, 1932, Vice Admiral Land was designated Chief of the Bureau of Construction and Repair, and remained there until he retired from active duty April 1, 1937. Within a month, he was appointed to the newly created U.S. Maritime Commission, tasked with rehabilitating the nation’s rapidly declining merchant fleet. On February 18, 1938, he became Chairman of Commission, relieving Joseph P. Kennedy.
On February 8, 1942, following the outbreak of World War II, he was also assigned as Administrator of the War Shipping Administration. He served in this dual capacity until the ending of hostilities. During the war, he directed this design, establishment and maintenance of a 6,000 vessel merchant fleet, the greatest maritime fleet in the history of the world. He was responsible for the availability of shipping and the resultant flow of manpower and munitions to war fronts extending from the United Kingdom to Russia, and from Alaska to the Middle East. He was promoted to Vice Admiral in 1944 by a Special Act of Congress.
On January 15, 1946, Vice Admiral Land resigned as Chairman of the U.S. Maritime Commission. For outstanding services, he was awarded the Navy’s Distinguished Service Medal and the Army Distinguished Service Medal by the War Department. He then became President of the Air Transport Association of America from 1946 to 1957 and worked as a consultant for General Dynamics Corporation until his death in November 1971 at age 92.
In addition to the Navy Cross, the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, and the Army Distinguished Service Medal, Vice Admiral Land earned the Spanish Campaign Medal and the Victory Medal (WWI) with Submarine Clasp. Foreign awards included Honorary Commander of the Military Order of the British Empire (1921), Honorary Commander of the Military Order of the British Empire (1945), and Grand Officer Second Class Polonia Restitute presented by the Polish Government in Exile.
Emory Scott Land, a native of Cannon, Colorado, attended the University of Wyoming prior to his appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. He entered the academy as a Naval Cadet and graduated with distinction on May 21, 1902. After two years, then required by law, he was commissioned an Ensign on May 2, 1904.
After leaving the Academy, he became a Naval architect specializing in submarine construction. During World War I, Vice Admiral Land was assigned for duty with the Board of Devices and Plans connected with Submarine Warfare in May 1917; the Board of Standardization of Submarines in September 1917; the Staff of Admiral W.S. Sims, USN, Commander Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, at Naval Headquarters, London, England, in July 1918; and the allied Naval Armistice Commission. He was awarded the Navy Cross for his work on submarine design and development of submarines that formed the backbone of the U.S. Submarine Fleet in World War II.