During World War II, Schade was Head of the Carrier Desk for the United States Navy's Bureau of Ships. In this capacity he was highly influential in the development of all classes of aircraft carriers commissioned during the war, particularly the Essex-class. Schade added materially in overcoming the shortage of aircraft carriers of all types by overseeing their accelerated construction thereby contributing to the defeat of the German Submarine campaign, the shift from the defensive to the offensive in the Pacific, and the subsequent successful prosecution of the war.
Near the end of the war, Schade served as Chief of the United States Naval Technical Mission in Europe. The Mission was charged with the responsibility of exploiting German science and technology for the benefit of the United States Navy's technical Bureaus.
It is here at the Naval Academy young Henry acquired an unusual nickname that would stick with him the remainder of his life. While being called "Packy" by his classmates might seem odd, it was not at all unique. Another student who attended a half-dozen or more years prior to Schade went by the nickname of Packy. This other man was a standout athlete for the Navy's crew team and when Schade proved his own talents every bit the equal of the former Packy's, his crew team dubbed him "Packy II". Over time the II was dropped and everyone simply called him Packy. Packy Schade was by all accounts a star for both the Plebe and Junior Varsity crew teams while a midshipman.
In 1923, Schade graduated from the Naval Academy with distinction, seventh in his class of 414. On June 23, 1923 he was commissioned Ensign in the United States Navy and ordered to the battleship USS California, flagship of Commander in Chief, Battle Fleet. In only one year, Schade had worked his way up to duty as Communication Watch Officer aboard California.
Detached from that duty in May 1925, Schade was then back in school for postgraduate work in Naval Architecture. He first attended the Naval Academy's Postgraduate School, Annapolis, Maryland, and while there, in 1926, was transferred to the Construction Corps of the Navy still in the rank of Ensign. Schade then continued his education at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he received his Master of Science degree in Naval Architecture in June 1928. Schade's Masters thesis entitled Deformation and Stresses in Pipe Bends was published later that same year by MIT's Department of Naval Construction.
After graduating from MIT, Schade had brief duty at the Edgewood Arsenal, Edgewood, Maryland and then at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York City. From October 1928, and for the three succeeding years, Schade served in the Industrial Department at Mare Island Navy Yard, California. In December 1931 Schade was brought to Washington, DC, to join the Design Section within the Bureau of Construction and Repair. It is here Schade, now with rank of Lieutenant, focused on furthering the development of the use of welding in naval ship construction until January 1935.
Schade was then assigned to the Experimental Model Basin, which at that time was located at the Washington Navy Yard, Washington, DC. Detached from the Model Basin in July 1936, he was ordered overseas to attend the Technische Hochschule Berlin-Charlottenburg (today the Technische Universität Berlin or Technical University of Berlin). In June 1937 Schade received the degree of Doctor of Engineering in Naval Architecture for his research on strength of ship structures and his landmark dissertation entitled Statik Des Schift-Bodens Unter-Wasserdruck. Translated to English, the title is Theory of Motions of Craft in Waves.
After graduating, but prior to leaving Europe, the Bureau of Ships ordered Schade on a tour of inspection, as student observer, of representative shipbuilding plants and model basins in German ports; plus naval establishments of The Netherlands, France, Britain, Italy, and Austria. Completing his tour of European naval facilities by the end of August, 1937, Schade then returned to the United States.
Lieutenant Schade was then ordered to serve in the Office of the Superintending Constructor, later redesignated Office of the Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, Newport News, Virginia. On June 23, 1938, less than one year into his duty at Newport News, Schade was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Commander. Also that summer, the esteemed professional organization of Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME) published Schade's professional paper on his study of Bending Theory of Ship Bottom Structure. In June 1940, all Constructors (Naval Architects) and Engineers (Marine Engineers) were united into a new Bureau of Ships (BuShips) which amalgamated the old Bureaus of Construction and Repair with the Bureau of Engineering. Also at this time all such technical personnel were transferred from the line of the Navy and redesignated Engineering Duty Only - or EDOs.
This massive reorganization of the Navy's technical Bureaus created new opportunities for younger officers with potential. Schade's potential was instantly recognized and shortly following the reorganization of the Bureau he was advanced in rank to full Commander. He also fleeted up to the billet of Senior Naval Liaison Officer (SNLO) assigned to Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock. The SNLO is the direct link between BuShips' ship "type desk" and the actual building and builder stationed in their yard. At this time Newport News was tackling the mighty job of acting as design agent, responsible for the creation of detailed working drawings, for the Navy's new Essex class aircraft carriers. This made Schade the Carrier (type) Desk's direct liaison at Newport News solely to effect work on the Essex design.
During 1941, the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers again published one of Schade's studies. His new study was entitled: Design Curves for Cross-Stiffened Plating Under Uniform Bending Load. This paper proved to be an important work, as the theories espoused therein by Schade were thereafter accepted and adopted by BuShips as new policy and practice regarding estimating static responses on welded stiffened ship panels.
Just four days before the Japanese aerial attack on Pearl Harbor, Commander Schade celebrated his 42nd birthday. By all accounts he had done a tremendous job over the previous two years at Newport News working diligently on the Essex project. His efforts had not gone unnoticed in the Bureau of Ships. With the nation now at war, his reward would not be long in coming.
Pearl Harbor had a dramatic impact on the leadership of BuShips. The Bureau's Chief, RAdm. Samuel M. "Mike" Robinson, and Deputy Chief, RAdm. Alexander H. Van Keuren, immediately recognized that this new war would be conducted just as the Japanese conducted the raid on Pearl Harbor. This would be a carrier war. To successfully prosecute this war, the United States Navy would need both better carriers and more of them to defeat their enemies. To get these ships built both quickly and properly would take skill, ability, and leadership. To get that leadership they would need to fill each key position within the Bureau with the officer best suited to handle the colossal challenges that lie before them.
The Chief and Deputy Chief of BuShips wasted no time reorganizing their personnel to meet the demands of a two-ocean war. In the weeks following the attack on Pearl Harbor orders were sent to ships and stations around the world recalling the people they felt best suited for a particular task. One such recall was Commander Schade. Ordered detached from his role as SNLO at Newport News in late December 1941, he was to report to "Main Navy" for duty at the Bureau of Ships by January 1, 1942.
Just three weeks after turning 42, Schade had been identified as the ideal candidate to head the Bureau's Carrier Desk during the country's first ever carrier war. Quite a responsibility for a Commander. Nearly all of the Bureau's ship type desks were run by officers with the rank of Captain. The fact that the most important ship type, arguably the aircraft carrier, for the anticipated nature of fighting would be placed in the hands of a mere Commander speaks volumes as to the complete faith both Robinson and Van Keuren had in Schade. There were thousands within the bureau that in some way would contribute to developing the Navy's carriers, but it was up to Schade to get those carriers built and fully prepared to join the fleet.
In January 1942 Schade was assigned to the Navy's Bureau of Ships, where he was responsible for the design of the Midway-class carriers, with innovations including the use of the flight deck as a structural element (previously flight decks were flimsy wooden platforms perched above the ship proper).
For Schade's efforts as Head of the Carrier Desk during World War II he was awarded the Legion of Merit. The commendation attached to his award read as follows:
"For exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service to the Government of the United States as head of the Aircraft Carrier Section, Bureau of Ships, from January 1942 to July 1944. Charged with supervising the preparation of working plans for aircraft carriers and with the expediting of the aircraft carrier program, Commodore Schade successfully advanced the delivery dates of carriers to the Fleet despite shortages of material and manpower. Exercising a high order of engineering ability and leadership, he added materially in overcoming the shortage of aircraft carriers of all types, thereby contributing to the defeat of the German Submarine campaign, the shift from the defensive to the offensive in the Pacific and the subsequent successful prosecution of the War."
Two days before Christmas, 1944, Captain Schade was advanced to the rank of Commodore.
In January, 1945, Commodore Schade was ordered to report to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations for a very special reassignment of duty. Schade was to create, and head, a team of scientific and technical specialists to obtain and exploit German science and technologies in areas immediately behind the front lines of fighting in Europe. As allied ground forces gained ground, Schade and his scientists would rush into the void left behind advancing forces to study the equipment and weaponry employed by the Germans. The United States Naval Technical Mission in Europe was particularly interested the capture and study of rocketry and all things naval as German ports and bases were wrested from Hitler's forces. Schade initially headquartered the Mission in Paris, but soon the Mission was constantly on the move as allied forces advanced more and more rapidly deeper into German occupied territories and then into Germany itself.
Schade's exceptional work as Chief of the United States Naval Technical Mission in Europe earned him a Gold Star in lieu of a second Legion of Merit. The commendation which accompanied his Gold Star read as follows:
"For exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the Government of the United States as Chief of the United States Naval Technical Mission in Europe from January 5 to October 15, 1945. Charged with the responsibility of exploiting German science and technology for the benefit of the Navy Department technical Bureaus and the Coordinator of Research and Development. Commodore Schade rendered invaluable service to the United States and to the cause of the United Nations by his immediate establishment of cordial and friendly relations between the Mission and other British and American military and civilian organizations engaged in similar activities on the continent of Europe. His inspiring efforts, professional ability and devotion to duty, often at great personal risk, reflect the highest credit upon Commodore Schade and the United States Naval Service."
Following the war, Schade was also bestowed with the American Defense Service Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Area Campaign Medal, the American Area Campaign Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal. Additionally, the Government of Great Britain made Schade an Honorary Officer of the Military Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.
On November 1, 1945, he was appointed Director of the Naval Research Laboratory, at Anacostia, relieving the man who had chosen him to run the Carrier Desk at the outbreak of the war, Rear Admiral Alexander H. Van Keuren. The NRL conducted the most sophisticated and extensive forms of research and experiments in the Navy Department for the benefit of her technical bureaus.
Schade remained as Director of the Naval Research Laboratory until his retirement from the Navy Department on February 1 1949. Effective upon his retirement, Schade was advanced from the rank of Commodore to Rear Admiral before being placed on the retired list.
Schade was named Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director of Research for the University of California College of Engineering at Berkeley effective upon his retirement from the US Navy.
In 1950, Shade's doctoral dissertation Statik Des Schift-Bodens Unter-Wasserdruck, written for Technische Hochschule 13 years prior in Berlin, was translated to English by Packy Schade himself and published as Theory of Motions of Craft in Waves by the Department of Engineering, University of California at Berkeley.
In 1958 he organized a Department of Naval Architecture at Berkeley, serving as its first chair. (The department later added offshore engineering, but was always small, and finally disbanded in 1998).
Rear Admiral Schade finally retired from University of California at Berkeley in 1968.
Schade and his wife, the former Alice Houseman of Pasadena, California, had two sons, Henry A. Schade, Jr. and Richard J. Schade. Alice Schade passed away in 1990. Rear Admiral Henry Adrian "Packy" Schade died less than two years later in 1992. Until his death he remained a member in good standing of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers and the Army-Navy Club.
Rear Admiral Henry Adrian "Packy" Schade proved just the right man, placed in exactly the right job, at precisely the right time. His particular expertise in the strength of welded ship structures made him uniquely qualified to oversee the rapid construction of the US Navy's aircraft carrier building program during the world's first ever carrier war.
Modern day researchers of World War II era aircraft carriers, both student and professional, can visit the records of BuShips held at the National Archives and Records Administration, in College Park, Maryland. There they will find, indelibly marked for posterity, Schade's impact on the US Navy carrier program. The serial number of nearly every carrier document carries the mark of "(512)" - Schade's Carrier Desk; and nearly all of those bear his classic handwritten big, bold, openly scripted partial signature "Sch".
Schade indeed left his mark upon BuShips during World War II, but he also continues to impact lives today. Professional papers of modern day Naval Architects frequently draw upon his concepts, passages, and papers as references for their own academic studies. Students are still today exploring Schade's original theoretical thinking on effective breadth of ship structures and often cite his works in their doctoral dissertations.
Rear Admiral Henry Adrian "Packy" Schade may be the least known man of World War II. But, he may also be as equally responsible for victory in the Pacific as any pilot that ever took-off from, or landed on, one of his carriers.