November 3, 2003 by

Benjamin F. Schemmer


Categories: Writers/Editors

Benjamin F. Schemmer, the editor and publisher of Armed Forces Journal International, died on Oct. 12 from cardiovascular disease. He was 71.

Schemmer graduated from the U.S. Military Academy and served with the Army in Germany and California. When he returned to the private sector, he worked for Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara at the Pentagon.

In 1968, Schemmer purchased Armed Forces Journal International. For 24 years, he acted as the magazine’s editor and publisher, covering the international defense industry. In his spare time, he wrote articles for various publications, including The Washington Post, the New Republic and Penthouse.

He also wrote four books about military affairs and edited the Strategic Review before it folded in July 2001.

8 Responses to Benjamin F. Schemmer

  1. Joseph Ogershok

    The initial post that Schemmer authored 4 books. He wrote two books, co-authored another and served as the editor for another.
    The books are:
    The Raid : The Son Tay Prison Rescue Mission
    Almanac of Liberty: A Chronology of American Military Anniversaries from 1775 to the Present.
    Along with John T. Carney, Jr., he co-authored:
    No Room for Error: The Covert Operations of America’s Special Tactics Units from Iran To Afghanistan
    and co-edited,
    U.S. Special Operations Forces (U.S. Military Series).
    The last book is a must read for the history of Special Forces and Special Operations Forces in the United States. The raid on Son Tay is the shining example of the capability of U.S. Army Special Forces.

  2. Amber Gray

    Ben Schemmer was my Grandmother’s little brother. I only met him once at a family reunion in Indiana, but he was a very nice person. I wish I’d known then (I was 12) that he was an author!

  3. Jim Harwood

    I am so sorry he has left us ! On April 03,2008 I had John Mccain autograph his book in Jacksonville , Florida . Ben is in a better place . Airborne

  4. chris nase

    As the daughter of a lifelong military father, I had the great privilege of working for Ben in
    the early 1970’s at 1710 Connecticut Avenue. Why he
    agreed to hire me I will never know, I was a just
    recent art history major graduate from GW, with absolutely no
    expertise or credentials in his field. He could not have been kinder, or more generous, to my
    great lack of understanding as to all things
    military. But it was the seventies in D.C., all
    was in flux, he tolerated me, and I was in complete awe as that young woman then that such an
    accomplished military man wore a very colorful
    jumpsuit frequently to the office! In my now sixty year old memory…I believe it was bright
    As now an old woman and granny of two, I have never before reached out through Google to honor
    someone from my ancient past, but my father passed
    away recently, and it was clearly so moving to hear those many stories from past connections that
    I was not at all aware of. So I will send this off into the blogosphere in hope that it reaches
    Ben’s descendents…that your father touched so
    many lives in such a positive way that you would
    never be aware of, without this Google option! I
    would also like to acknowledge a few other great
    people from those days….Lois, Maurice, Louise,Ron,and my most immediate boss man, Colonel
    Steinhauser,the most sweet Mrs. Schemmer, and
    a crazy Raven that flew about freely in the office. I had the privilege of meeting all of
    you a lifetime ago, and just want to say thanks to all for that opportunity. Many rivers have crossed since then, and I have never before opened
    up to this possibility…..but I would very much
    enjoy hearing from any and all of you.
    Much love to all the Schemmer family

  5. Richard Baker

    Met Ben years ago and told him I was impressed with his Journal and his book on the Son Tay Raid in 1970. Sorry to read of his death. He was one of a kind, sure. RIP.

  6. Dr. Jay W. Gould III

    Ben and I were classmates at West Point. Ben was an unconventional Cadet full of fun and humor. At the home Army games in 52, Benn would light M-80 firecrackers when ever Army scored points. These were tough years for the Army team because of all the talent lost to the Honor Code in ’51. Of course Red Blake and Vince Lombardi recruited players but every Cadet whether on Corps Squad or not had to be proficient in the academic grades. This is tough to do when playing ball at practice every day. Besides in many respects the Corps of Cadets did not fully identify with any of the Army teams because of the scandal in ’51.
    Since Navy had beaten Army in ’50, ’51, & ’52 there were a few of us who were determined to make sure the Corps was fully behind the Army Football Team in ’53. The key players in this effort were Ben Schemmer, Alex Rupp and me. Our team created an event at the Army Duke Game at the Polo Grounds in ’53 that lives on in the historic annals of the Academy. We brought to the game, a jeep painted in Army Colors; a Victory Cannon made from a WW II captured rocket cannon; Ben’s Army Bath Robe flight to Heaven carried there by a balloon Ben and Alex secured from the Army Stewart Field; a partnership with the Army Band playing staccato Drum Rolls with Trumpets sounding the Charge supporting a new chant: GO – GO – GO. The Team became inspired; we were beating Duke a nationally ranked team with incredible play by Bob Mischak. For the first time in nearly three years the Corps and the Team were united as one. Discipline is required at the Academy, Ben lost his stripes but he was not done. He borrowed the car from my future wife and reconnoiters the place where Navy houses it goat. Before the game, Ben somehow funded a full page advertisement on the back page of the Armed Forces Journal inviting Navy to their defeat at the upcoming Army Navy Game. I arranged for transport for Ben and Alex to travel to Annapolis for the purpose of a GOAT NAPPING. I could not go because I was on a punishment tour walking the area. Ben and Alex were successful returning with BILLY THE GOAT. Eisenhower ordered its return; the Corps stormed the South Guard Room and Commandant’s Office. Cadets were disciplined for this outburst; but we beat NAVY. GO – GO _ Go. Ben’s career was very distinguished. Alex died staying in the cockpit of his disabled airplane so it would not crash in the suburbs. Visit the dedicated room at the Thayer Hotel at West Point for a complete story.

  7. Leonard Butler

    I was eight years behind Ben at West Point. I first met him when he visited Hurlburt Field after we had had a disappointing ORI. I was the commander. I supplied Ben with a stack of papers refuting much of which he had published in AFJI. He was very apologetic for his sources. We became friends thereafter. Later, I wrote him a personal letter blasting an article in AFJI regarding the number of GOs in AFSPECOPS. He tracked me down at a hotel in Georgetown and asked if he could publish my letter in AFJI. I made some editorial changes on the phone and he published it. I am told that a copy of my letter was on the walls of almost every crew man’s office in SOF. Ben was a true patriot. RIP my friend.

  8. Elaine Blackman

    A year after my dad, Harry Zubkoff, passed away, I relaunched the blog he began based on his writings, which I discovered in files after he was gone. I’ve come across hundreds of writings about people he worked with during his 36-year career at the Pentagon. Before publishing writings on the blog, I do a little research. So, here’s a poem he wrote titled “To a Schemmer named Ben or The Eternal Journal” on Oct. 18, 1979. I hope someone out there enjoys it.

    Which publication leads all the rest?
    Which is quite widely considered the best?
    Which, if I may be so bold as to ask it,
    Contains all the news like a corpse in a casket?
    The answer, like hope, which springs ever, eternal,
    Is LuAnne’s magazine, called the Armed Forces Journal!

    But who gets the credit, who edits the mag.?
    Who, but for LuAnne, would be selling a rag?
    The hero this evening, a man among men,
    A dreamer, a schemer, a Schemmer named Ben,
    he proposed to the publisher, said with a sob,
    he would marry the boss to hang onto his job!

    Now friends, here’s a thought to fill someone with terror,
    Does someone that LuAnne made a error?
    That because they decided to share both their lives
    They would thereby insure that the Journal survives?
    For the future, I fear, they’re so fiendishly clever,
    That they’ll put out their Journal forever and ever!

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