Naval career through World War I
From Cañon City, Colorado, Land graduated from the United States Naval Academy on May 21, 1902. Following two years of sea duty, he became a naval architect specializing in submarine construction.
During World War I, he served on the Board of Devices and Plans connected with Submarines in Warfare, the Board of Standardization of Submarines, and the staff of Admiral William S. Sims, who commanded all U.S. naval forces in European waters.
Land played a key role in the design of the S-class submarines from 1917 to 1919, the United States Navy's first attempt to build a submarine capable of operating with the battle fleet. Land was vice chairman of the Navy's postwar V-boat Plans Committee in 1920. He was awarded the Navy Cross for his work on submarine design and construction and for work in the war zone.
From October 1, 1932 until April 1, 1937, Land was Chief of the Bureau of Construction and Repair. In this position, he played a major role in submarine development leading to the highly successful fleet boats of World War II.
Land retired in 1937, but on February 18, 1938 he became Chairman of the U.S. Maritime Commission, overseeing the design and construction of the more than 4,000 Liberty ships and Victory ships that flew the U.S. flag during World War II. Land concurrently served as Administrator of the War Shipping Administration (WSA), established by Executive Order 9054 on February 7, 1942. Thus Admiral Land exercised authority over both construction and allocation of non-combatant maritime assets to Army, Navy and commerce.
Admiral Land was also instrumental in overseeing the establishment of the United States Merchant Marine Academy, located in Kings Point, New York as a commissioning source for officers entering the Merchant Marine and Naval Reserve in World War II. Land Hall, located at the Academy, is named in his honor.
On January 15, 1946, Vice Admiral Emory S. Land resigned as Chairman of the U.S. Maritime Commission. For outstanding services, He was rewarded the Navy's Distinguished Service Medal by the War Department. Land served as President of the Air Transport Association of America from 1946–1957 and worked as a consultant for General Dynamics Corporation until his death in November 1971 at age 92.
Admiral Land's personal decorations include:Navy Cross
Navy Distinguished Service Medal
Spanish Campaign Medal
World War I Victory Medal with Submarine Clasp
American Defense Service Medal
American Campaign Medal
World War II Victory Medal
Honorary Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) 1921
Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) 1945
Grand Officer Second Class Polonia Restituta presented by Polish Government in Exile
Honorary Graduate of the United States Merchant Marine Academy
The submarine tender Emory S. Land (AS-39) was named for him.