International Hydrofoil Society

Award Citation

James L. Schuler

The International Hydrofoil Society honors James L. Schuler for his outstanding role in the research and development of the modern day hydrofoil, and for his many contributions to the Society.

James Schuler, after graduating from Webb Institute in 1947, joined the Bureau of Ships as a Naval Architect. His formal education did not stop there as he continued his studies at George Washington School of Law obtaining a jurus doctor degree in 1954. His career with the US Navy became focused on research and development of advanced marine vehicles. His naval architectural capabilities, combined with his legal expertise, well suited his advancement into the managerial roles for R&D. This function he fulfilled for BUSHIPS and continued into the Bureau's sequel, the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA). He is a past chairman of the Flagship Section and a former member of the National Council of the American Society of Naval Engineers.

During the period when the US Navy was trying to identify the military role of advanced ships, Jim was a motivator and supporter working to clarify this issue. Joining forces with William M. Ellsworth, a hydrofoil special trials unit (HYSTU) was formed and supported. This innovative unit solved development issues and identified roles and weapon systems suitable for hydrofoil missions. For example, when the US Navy's TUCUMCARI (PGH-2) was badly damaged in a grounding incident, a need for high speed navigation system was clearly apparent. Building on a concept generated by two sailors from HIGH POINT (PCH-1), another HYSTU asset, in which a radar image was superimposed on a navigation chart, Jim supported the effort to develop a high speed navigation system which eventually became installed hardware on the the Navy's hydrofoil missile patrol ships, the PHMs. HYSTU, TUCUMCARI, HIGH POINT, HYCATS were all necessary steps along the way that led to the Navy's first fleet of operational advanced naval vehicles, the PHMs...and Jim Schuler played a pivotal role in getting us there.

Jim Schuler also played a key role in the US Navy's air cushion landing craft program. This started with the amphibious assault landing craft (AALC) full-scale test craft named after one of Jim's sons - they were known as Jeff A and Jeff B. As a consequence, these craft provided the essential confirmation of technical feasibility, and operational capability that led to the current production of Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) vehicles. In all, 91 LCACs were built for the US Fleet.

For many years Jim has been an IHS supporter. As a member of the Society he contributed to establishment of the North American Chapter of IHS. His legal knowledge assisted in obtaining the charter for this chapter as a not-for-profit organization. When headquarters was moved from London to Washington DC, Jim was a member of the Interim Council which organized the smooth transition. In 1987, he was most appropriately elected as 6th President of the Society, a term cut short by a most untimely illness.

Because of his contributions to the development of the hydrofoil, both military and commercial and support of the IHS, it is most appropriate that this award be presented to James L. Schuler.


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