Rosalio Mario Rizzi, born on 4 February 1924 at Nesquehoning, Pa., enlisted in the Navy on 11 February 1941 and, after training at Newport, served in the battleship Texas (BB-35) from 17 April 1941 to 4 April 1942. Transferred then to Duncan (DD-485), Seaman First Class Rizzi sailed in her to the Solomons where the destroyer escorted transports and ships of the covering force. On 15 September, Petty Officer Rizzi served as coxswain of the gig from Duncan during rescue operations after the torpedoing of Wasp (CV-7). Working unceasingly, despite flaming oil and debris in the water and fire exploding ammunition on board the stricken carrier, Rizzi and his shipmates took their gig under her starboard bow and rescued men trapped in the forward gun galleys and on the flight deck. Less than a month later, during the Battle off Cape Esperance on 11 October, his own ship was heavily damaged by enemy shells and engulfed in flames. Efforts to save her failed and she went down off Savo Island on the 12th. Seaman First Class Rizzi was among those lost with her. He was awarded, posthumously, the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for his heroism during rescue operations for Wasp survivors.
(DE - 537: displacement 1,350; length 306’; beam 36’7”; draft 13’4”; speed 24 knots; complement 277; armament 2 5”, 10 40mm., 10 20mm., 8 depth charge projectors, 1 depth charge projector (hedgehog-type); class John C. Butler)
Rizzi (DE-537) was laid down on 3 November 1943 by the Boston Navy Yard, Boston, Mass.; launched on 7 December 1943; and christened by Mrs. Theresa Rizzi, mother of Seaman First Class Rizzi at commissioning on 26 June 1945, when Lt. Comdr. E. K. Winn, USNR, assumed command.
Completing shakedown the day following the cessation of World War II hostilities, Rizzi departed Boston after availability and instead of heading for the Pacific, steamed to Norfolk for duty as training ship for student officers of the Destroyer School. Transferred in mid-November, she headed back to New England waters only to receive orders directing her to prepare for inactivation. A visit to New York followed and with the new year, 1946, she sailed south to Green Cove Springs, Fla., and on 23 January reported to Commander, 16th (inactive) Fleet.
Decommissioned on 18 June 1946, Rizzi remained at Green Cove Springs in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet until ordered activated and assigned to the 3d Naval District as a reserve training ship in January 1951. Recommissioned on 28 March 1951, she proceeded to New York whence she conducted training cruises - weekend and 2-week cruises along the east coast and in the Caribbean, and summer cruises to Europe in 1953 and 1955 and to South America in 1954 - for reservists in the New York City area. In November 1957, Rizzi again prepared for inactivation.
Decommissioned 28 February 1958, she remained in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet, berthed at Philadelphia, until the spring of 1972. At that time, she was surveyed and found to be unfit for further service. Consequently, Rizzi was stricken from the Navy list 1 August 1972.
14 October 2005