Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Avenue of Heroes: Captain Peter E. Riddle

Written by: Susan Whiting (daughter)

Peter “Pete” Emmons Riddle was born in Chicago on April 2, 1938, the youngest of three boys to Hugh and Katherine Riddle. He was an outgoing student leader and athlete who earned the title of most likely to succeed from his Highland Park High School senior class.  Riddle went on to play football at Yale where he was also a member of the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps unit.

After graduation in 1960, Riddle was assigned to a destroyer, but soon became interested in Underwater Demolition Teams, or UDT, and made his way out to Coronado, California, to be a part of UDT-Class 28. After graduating in July 1962, he was assigned as a platoon officer at UDT-12. After completion of active duty, Riddle attended the University of Chicago Law School graduating in 1966.

With the Vietnam War heating up, Riddle put his legal career on hold and was deployed to Danang as officer in charge of SEALs assigned to Naval Advisory Detachment MACV-SOG, then engaged in classified special operations throughout Vietnam for which the detachment was later awarded the U.S. Presidential Unit Citation. Riddle’s superiors at the time wrote of his exceptional professionalism, competence and determination and his exemplary ethics.

After the war, Riddle continued to serve in the Naval Reserve including assignments in UDT/SEAL Pacific Team 119 and Naval Special Warfare Group 1. He retired as a captain.

Riddle started a private law practice in San Diego, served on the Coronado City Council in the early 1970s, and raised a family in Coronado.  He was appointed to the bench in 1987 where his assignments in San Diego Superior Court included probate, civil litigation, juvenile delinquency and dependency. Public service was an important part of his life.

CAPT Riddle was not only an outstanding naval officer, attorney and judge, but the most wonderful and devoted husband, father, grandfather and friend.

The Hometown Banner Program is a military service recognition program sponsored by the City of Coronado. Introduced in 2014, the program has honored 218 hometown heroes. On Nov. 5, 2022, another 12 will be honored. The City funds all the costs for the program. City staff and volunteers from the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2422, the Coronado Historical Association and the Third and Fourth Streets Neighborhood Association oversee its operation. In 2011 the inspiration for the program came spontaneously with the movement of two Navy SEALs to their final resting place. News spread quickly in Coronado. The local Rotary Club passed out American flags. People lined Fourth Street to honor the fallen service members. As the procession approached the San Diego-Coronado Bridge, a lone Navy SEAL stood at attention, saluting as he waited for the passage of his comrades. At that moment, it was clear that Third and Fourth streets were already an Avenue of Heroes. From that spontaneous beginning, the program was launched in May 2015 with 18 banners. Ceremonies are held twice yearly and men and women with ties to the community have been recognized from the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps. The Hometown Banner program is a reminder that Coronado has a rich history and legacy of service to country.

Managing Editor
Managing Editor
Originally from upstate New York, Dani Schwartz has lived in Coronado since 1996. She is happy to call Coronado home and to have raised her children here. In her free time she enjoys reading, exercising, trying new restaurants, and just walking her dog around the "island." Have news to share? Send tips or story ideas to: [email protected]