Joseph Riddle, Jr., born in St. Clairsville, Ohio, 6 January 1918, enlisted in the Naval Reserve 28 May 1941, was appointed aviation cadet 2 September 1941; appointed naval aviator 7 March 1942; and appointed ensign 14 March 1942. He was in an active duty status other than training from 17 April 1942, and was assigned to the U.S. Naval Air Station, Seattle, Wash., for active duty involving flying in connection with the fitting out of Escort Scouting Squadron 12, and for active duty involving flying in that squadron when placed in commission. He was killed by enemy fighter aircraft after successfully bombing a Japanese destroyer north of New Georgia Island on 4 February 1943 and was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
(DE - 185: displacement 1,620 (full load); length 306’0’’; beam 36’7”; draft 11’8”; speed 20 knots; complement 216; armament 3 3”, 2 40mm., 8 20mm., 2 depth charge tracks, 8 depth charge projectors, 1 depth charge projector (hedgehog-type), 3 21” torpedo tubes; class Cannon)
Riddle (DE-185) was laid down by the Federal Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co., Newark, N.J., 29 July 1943; launched 17 October 1943; sponsored by Mrs. Anna B. Riddle; and commissioned 17 November 1943, Lt. Comdr. Roland H. Cramer, USNR, in command.
Following shakedown off Bermuda, Riddle sailed for Pearl Harbor via the Panama Canal, arriving 1 February 1944. On 10 February she got underway as an escort vessel with Task Unit 16.11.6, bound for the Marshall Islands. Upon arrival she conducted antisubmarine patrols in the Roi-Kwajalein-Majuro Atoll area until steaming for Pearl Harbor 15 March.
After serving as an escort to Majuro Atoll and Manus Island and back, Riddle was active in the Marshall and Marianas Islands in June 1944. On 4 July, while screening fueling operations with TG 50.17, with David W. Taylor (DD-551), she successfully attacked a submerged Japanese submarine, I-10.
Riddle continued screening operations in the Marshall-Marianas area until 1 September when she anchored at Manus Island. On 4 October she got underway as part of an escort group to screen the sortie of TU 38.8.16, a carrier and fueling group, from Seeadler Harbor for the Philippine Invasion. Riddle returned to Manus after the task unit was on its way, and operated in the Admiralty and western Caroline area until early January 1945. On the 14th of January she arrived at Leyte Gulf, Philippine Islands, after which she returned to the Marianas and western Carolines on routine screening and patrol duties.
Riddle operated in the Iwo Jima area in February 1945, acting as antiaircraft and antisubmarine patrol as well as escorting various fleet units in their operations in that bloody battle area. On the 5th of March, she anchored at Saipan and the following day sailed for Leyte Gulf in company with Hyman (DD-732). After remaining in San Pedro Bay, Leyte Gulf, until the 18th of March, Riddle got underway as part of the escort group for TU 51.7.1, en route to Kerama Retto, Okinawa.
Upon arrival at Kerama Retto on 26 March 1945, Riddle operated with various screening units, patrol sections, and retirement groups in those waters. April 12th found the vessel off Okinawa on a patrolling station, with TF 51, under enemy attack. Two Japanese kamikazes attacked Riddle. The first was shot down, just clearing the ship, and the second crashed into the ship killing one man and causing considerable damage. After transfer of wounded and repair to her battle damage at Kerama Retto, Riddle got underway 16 April as an escort to Saipan.
Riddle arrived at Okinawa once more 1 May 1945, and assumed patrol and escort duties there until 15 June when she got underway for Leyte Gulf. She arrived 18 June and anchored there in San Pedro Bay, until 1 July. From 2 to 4 July, she participated in firing exercises with Salt Lake City (CA-25) and on the 5th got underway as escort for Shamrock Bay (CVE-84) en route to Guam and Hawaii, arriving Pearl Harbor 19 July.
Riddle proceeded on to San Pedro, Calif., for overhaul which lasted through the end of hostilities. On 13 November, Riddle got underway for the Panama Canal and arrived Norfolk on the 29th. On 31 December 1945 she reported to Commander, Florida Group, 16th Fleet, for inactivation, and decommissioned 8 June 1946. Riddle was transferred to France 12 August 1950 under the Military Assistance Program and was struck from the Navy list 26 September 1950. The destroyer escort served in the French Navy as Kabyle until retired in 1965.
Riddle earned 12 battle stars for World War II service.
29 September 2005