Born in Decatur, Texas in 1913, Kyle Riddle graduated from Decatur High School in 1931, the Decatur Baptist College in 1933, and the Texas Agricultural & Mechanical University (Texas A&M), College Station, Texas in 1937. He entered the U.S. Army Air Corps Flying School at Randolph Field, San Antonio, Texas, in March 1938, and received his pilot wings and second lieutenant commission in the U.S. Army Air Corps Reserve at Kelly Field, San Antonio, Texas, in February 1939.
His first assignment was to the 8th Pursuit Group at Langley Field, near Hampton, Virginia. in March 1939. In September 1939 he was transferred to Albrook Field, Panama Canal Zone, where he was assigned during three years to pursuit and fighter organizations in the Panama and Caribbean commands.
From September 1942 to December 1943 he was assigned to the 4th Fighter Command on the West Coast. He served as squadron commander, group executive officer and group commander of combat replacement training units for P-38 pilots. In December 1943 General Riddle assumed command of the 479th Fighter Group, which was being trained as a combat group for the Eighth Air Force and was sent to England in May 1944. The group's first combat mission was flown 21 May 1944. The Group was nicknamed “Riddle’s Raiders” after him.
On a mission to strafe the marshalling yards at Meaux, France on 10 August 1944, his P-38 Serial 42-23171 was hit by Flak and he crash-landed his burning plane in a field near Bouresches, about 10km NW of Château-Thierry, France. He was helped in his evasion by French patriots and FFI fighters and was liberated by US troops in Sens on 24 August 1944. Back the next day in England he later resumed his function of 497th FG Commanding Officer on 1 November 1944, having been replaced in the meantime in that position by Colonel Hubert Zemke.
Kyle was 497th CO until December 1945 when he was transferred to occupational forces duty and assigned as chief of staff of the 64th Fighter Wing, Bad Kissingen, Germany. He was returned to the United States in December 1946, and was a member of the first class to attend the Armed Forces Staff College in February 1947. Upon graduation he was assigned as headquarters commandant, Langley Air Force Base, Virginia. In March 1949 General Riddle was assigned to Continental Air Command as chief of the Training Division of the Operations and Training Directorate. From September 1949 to June 1952 he served as chief, Operations and Training Division and deputy chief, Air Force Section, Joint U.S. Military Advisory Group, Greece. He returned to the United States in June 1952 and attended the Air War College.
He was assigned to the Field Command, Armed Forces Special Weapons Command, Sandia Base, New Mexico, in July 1953 where he served as chief of Plans Division in the Deputy Commander for Operations Office for two years, then as assistant to the deputy commander of technical services, and as comptroller for approximately one year.
In August 1957 General Riddle assumed command of the 3560th Pilot Training Wing. In September 1959 he assumed command of the 66th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, U.S. Air Forces in Europe. He became chief of staff, Seventeenth Air Force in July 1961, and later was named deputy commander.
General Riddle was assigned to Headquarters Tactical Air Command as inspector general from July 1963 to August 1965 when he became the assistant deputy for operations, and from March 1966 to June 1966, he was the deputy chief of staff, Operations and Training. He became chief, Military Assistance Advisory Group-Japan in June 1966. Brigadier General Kyle retired from the US Air Force on 1 March 1969.
Military | Colonel | Fighter Group Commander; Pilot | 479th Fighter Group
17 air victories with 56th FG flying P-47s, 2 1/2 with 479th FG flying P-51s. Lost 30 October 1944 when P-51 broke up in storm. Prisoner of War (POW) in Stalag Luft I. Was appointed as head of American Prisoner of War (POW)s while in camp. Retired from...
Units served with
The 479th was the last Fighter Group to join the Eighth Air Force, which they did on 14 May 1944. Known as "Riddle's Raiders", after their first Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Kyle L. Riddle, the Group flew escort and fighter sweep missions before D-Day....
P-38 Serial 44-23171 had no known nickname. Assigned to Headquarters 479th Fighter Group at Wattisham, it was the regular Lightning flown by Lt. Colonel Kyle L. Riddle, CO of the Group. It was lost on the 10 August 1944 mission to strafe the Meaux...
Military site : airfield
Built in 1938 as a medium bomber station with a grass airfield, Wattisham was occupied by the RAF until handed over to the Eighth Air Force in September 1942. The 68th Observation Group was the first American unit to occupy the station from October to...
||Decatur, Texas, United States
||19 December 1913
||Randolph Field, Texas, United States
||10 August 1944 – 24 August 1944
Landed his burning P-38 in a field near Bouresches (±10km NW of Château-Thierry), Aisne Department France. Helped in his evasion by farmers and FFI underground fighters, he was moved through various locations and found himself for one night in the "Hôtel de Paris" in Sens (Aube Department). The next day, 24 August 1944 he was liberated by US troops and flown back by C-47 to Northolt, England on the 25th.
||10 August 1944
Crash-landed his burning P-38 in a field
|End Tour of Duty (ETD)
||San Antonio, Texas, United States
||16 November 2008
||Ft Sam Houston Cemetery, San Antonio, Texas, United States