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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.)
|23k||Undated Wartime Image||-|
|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)
|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)
England, United Kingdom
|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 – .. Apr. 1945||Lcdr. Donald H. Johnson, USNR (Comm. CO)|
|2.) .. Apr. 1945 – .. .... ....||Lt. Richard A. Evans, Jr., USNR|
|3.) .. .... .... – .. Apr. 1946||Lt. R. S. Chapin, USNR|
|4.) .. Apr. 1946 – 15 Jan. 1947||Lcdr. J. E. Tuttle, USN|
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.
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Page Last Updated: 18 July 2017