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Navsource Online: Destroyer Escort Photo Archive

USS Riley (DE 579)

Flag Hoist / Radio Call Sign:
N - T - Z - H
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row: American Campaign Medal - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal w/ 2 stars
Second Row: European-Africa-Middle East Campaign Medal - World War II Victory Medal - Philippine Liberation Ribbon

Class: Rudderow
Type: TEV (turbo-electric drive, long hull, 5" guns)
Displacement: 1,450 tons (light), 1,810 tons (full)
Length: 300' (wl), 306' (oa)
Beam: 36' 9" (extreme)
Draft: 13' 9" (draft limit)
Propulsion: 2 CE boilers, G.E. turbines with electric drive, 12000 shp, 2 screws
Speed: 24 kts
Range: 5,050 nm @ 12 knots
Armament: 2 - 5"/38 Mk30, 4 - 40mm Mk1 AA (2x2), 10 x 20mm/70 Mk 4 AA, 3 x 21" Mk15 TT (3x1), 1 Hedgehog Projector Mk10 (230 rounds), 8 Mk6 depth charge projectors (40), 2 Mk9 depth charge tracks (60)
Complement: 12 / 192
Riley (DE 579) Building and Operational Data:
  • 20 October 1943: Keel laid by the Bethlehem-Hingham Shipyard, Inc., Hingham, Mass.
  • 29 December 1943: Launched and christened, sponsored by Miss Mildred LaVerne Riley, sister of Lieutenant Riley
  • 13 March 1944: Commissioned at Hingham, Mass., Lcdr. D. H. Johnson, USNR, in command
  • 15 January 1947: Decommissioned at San Diego, Cal. after 2 years and 10 months of service having steamed 97,960 miles
  • 05 February 1947: Inactivation completed at San Diego, Cal., assigned to Submarine Group Two, San Diego Group, Pacific Reserve Fleet
  • 25 January 1974: Struck from the NVR
  • 10 July 1968: Transferred to Taiwan, renamed ROCS Tai Yuan (F-27) (Stricken in 1996 and broken up for scrap)
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    42k Paul James Riley was born 12 April 1913 at Hot Springs, Ark. He enlisted in the Naval Reserve 12 December 1931 and was appointed midshipman 26 June 1933. Commissioned ensign 4 years later in 1937, he was designated naval aviator 22 May 1940 and on 28 July he reported for duty in Torpedo Squadron 6 on board Enterprise (CV 6). Promoted to lieutenant 06 January 1942, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for "heroic conduct in aerial combat during the operations of U.S. forces against the Marshall Islands", 01 February 1942. A little over 4 months later, during the Battle of Midway (04 June), Lieutenant Riley was killed as he "pressed home his attack" against the Japanese Fleet "in the face of a terrific barrage of antiaircraft fire." For his "extraordinary heroism and courageous devotion to duty" in that battle, he was awarded the Navy Cross and Purple Heart posthumously.

    Citation: "The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Paul James Riley (0-078730), Lieutenant, U.S. Navy, for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier- based Navy Torpedo Plane of Torpedo Squadron SIX (VT-6), embarked from the U.S.S. ENTERPRISE (CV-6), during the "Air Battle of Midway," against enemy Japanese forces on 4 June 1942. Participating in a vigorous and intensive assault against the Japanese invasion fleet, Lieutenant Riley pressed home his attack with relentless determination in the face of a terrific barrage of anti-aircraft fire. The unprecedented conditions under which his squadron launched its offensive were so exceptional that it is highly improbably the occasion may ever recur where other pilots of the service will be called upon to demonstrate an equal degree of gallantry and fortitude. His extreme disregard of personal safety contributed materially to the success of our forces and his loyal conduct was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country". Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 309 (December 1942)

    USS Riley (DE 579) (1944-1947) was the first ship to be named in his honor. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association.)
    Bill Gonyo
    Downey, Cal.

    Assoc. Researcher
    23k Undated Wartime Image -
    183k mid-March 1944: Boston, Mass. - USS Riley (DE 579) off Boston, Massachusetts, a few days after commissioning. Photographed by Thompson Photographers, Los Angeles, California.

    (U.S. Naval Historical Center photo #NH 96719, courtesy of Harold G. Domchick, 1991, from the Naval History and Heritage Command)
    Mike Smolinski
    Clifton, N.J.

    Archive Manager
    DE / FF / LCS Archive
    433k 17 March 1944: off Boston, Mass. - An aerial view of Riley taken in waters near the Boston Navy Yard.

    (U.S. Navy photos #CP-DE-579 19-N-68395 from the National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Md.; courtesy of  Chris Wright)
    Ed Zajkowski
    Narvon, Pa.
    46k Leaving dock at Astoria, Ore. being towed by the M/V Seaborn II, ex-USS PC-1601 "on the hip." c. 1958. Bob Daly

    Photo courtesy of
    Capt. Donald Hughes,
    Columbia River Pilots Association
    42k Leaving dock at Astoria, Ore. being towed by the M/V Seaborn II (ex-USS PC-1601) "on the hip." c. 1958.
    58k 1974: at sea - A photo of the destroyer escort ROCS Tai Yuan (DE-27), (ex-USS Riley DE 579) underway off Taiwan. In the background is ROCS Hwa Shan (PF-53) (ex-USS Donald W. Wolf APD 129).

    (Photo © Karsten Peterson, Karsten is a retired merchant seaman with an excellent website called Sailor, On the Blue Path of the World)
    Bob Hurst
    Worksop, Nottinghamshire,
    England, United Kingdom

    Riley History
    View the USS Riley (DE 579) DANFS history entry located on the Naval History and Heritage Command web site.

    Riley's Commanding Officers
    Thanks to Wolfgang Hechler & Ron Reeves
    Dates of Command Commanding Officers
    1.) 13 Mar. 1944 06 Apr. 1945Lcdr. Donald H. Johnson, USNR (Comm. CO)
    2.) 06 Apr. 1945 12 Nov. 1945Lt. Richard Albert Evans Jr., USNR
    3.) 12 Nov. 1945 27 May 1946Lt. Robert S. Chapin, USNR (Brattleboro, Vt.)
    4.) 27 May 1946 15 Jan. 1947Lcdr. John Edmund Tuttle, USN (Decomm. CO) (ROTC '40) (Willows, Cal.)

    Crew Contact And Reunion Information

    Note About Contacts

    Contact information is compiled from various sources over a period of time and may, or may not, be correct. Every effort has been
    made to list the newest contact. However, our entry is only as good as the latest information that's been sent to us. We list only
    a contact for the ship if one has been sent to us. We do NOT have crew lists, rosters, or deck logs available. Please see the
    Frequently Asked Questions section on NavSource's Main Page for that information.

    Additional Resources

    Tin Can Sailors
    The U.S. Navy Memorial
    Destroyer Escort Sailors Association
    The Destroyer Escort Historical Museum
    The Destroyer History Foundation
    To The DE, FF, LCS Photo Index Page
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    This Page Created And Maintained By Mike Smolinski
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    by Paul R. Yarnall, All Rights Reserved.
    Page Last Updated: 18 March 2023