Isaac C. Kidd

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For his son, also an admiral (1919-1999), see Isaac C. Kidd, Jr.
Isaac Campbell Kidd
A light blue neck ribbon with a gold star shaped medallion hanging from it. The ribbon is similar in shape to a bowtie with 13 white stars in the center of the ribbon.
Isaac C. Kidd.NH50176.jpg
Captain (future Rear Admiral) Isaac C. Kidd, USN in a picture taken while he was Chief of Staff to the Commander, Base Force, U.S. Fleet
Born (1884-03-26)March 26, 1884
Cleveland, Ohio
Died December 7, 1941(1941-12-07) (aged 57)
killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor
Resting place Hull of USS Arizona
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch  United States Navy
Years of service 1906-1941
Rank US-O8 insignia.svg Rear Admiral
Commands held Battleship Division I

World War I
World War II

Awards Medal of Honor
Purple Heart

Isaac Campbell Kidd (March 26, 1884 – December 7, 1941) was an American Rear Admiral in the United States Navy. Kidd was killed on the bridge of the USS Arizona (BB-39) during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the highest ranking American killed by the Japanese since 73 years earlier, with the death of Rear Admiral Henry H. Bell at Kobe, while trying to force Japan open to trade. He was the father of Admiral Isaac C. Kidd, Jr. He was a posthumous recipient of his nation's highest military honor — the Medal of Honor. The highest ranking casualty at Pearl Harbor, he became the first U.S. Navy flag officer killed in action in World War II as well as the first killed in action against any foreign enemy. A Fletcher-class destroyer, the USS Kidd (DD-661), was commissioned in his honor on April 23, 1943. The second ship named after him, the USS Kidd (DDG-993), lead ship of four Kidd-class destroyers, was commissioned on March 27, 1981. An Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, the USS Kidd (DDG-100), was the third ship named after him and was commissioned on June 9, 2007.[1]

Early years and military service[edit]

Kidd was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1884. He entered the U.S. Naval Academy in 1902, graduating with the Class of 1906 in February of that year. He was commissioned an ensign in 1908. Kidd participated in the 1907 - 09 Great White Fleet cruise around the world while serving on the USS New Jersey (BB-16). Following service on the USS North Dakota (BB-29) and the USS Pennsylvania (ACR-4), Kidd became the Aide and Flag Secretary to the Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet, the first of his many flagstaff assignments. He was an instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy in 1916 - 17.

During and after World War I, Kidd was stationed on the USS New Mexico (BB-40), and then he had further staff and Naval Academy service. He was the executive officer of the battleship USS Utah (BB-31) in 1925 - 26, then commanded the USS Vega (AK-17) until becoming the Captain of the Port at Cristóbal, Panama Canal Zone in 1927 - 30. Promoted to the rank of Captain, he was the Chief of Staff to the Commander, Base Force, United States Fleet in 1930 - 32. After three years at the Bureau of Navigation in Washington, D.C., he was the Commander of Destroyer Squadron One, Scouting Force, in 1935 - 36.

During the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Rear Admiral Kidd was the Commander of Battleship Division One and the Chief of Staff and Aide to the Commander, Battleship Battle Force. At his first knowledge of the attack, he rushed to the bridge of USS Arizona, his flagship, and "courageously discharged his duties as Senior Officer Present Afloat until the Arizona blew up from a magazine explosion and a direct bomb hit on the bridge which resulted in the loss of his life."[2]

Admiral Kidd's body was never recovered and to this day he is considered missing in action. U.S. Navy salvage divers located his Naval Academy ring fused to a bulkhead on the Arizona's bridge.[3] A trunk containing his personal memorabilia was found in the wreck and sent to his widow. Rediscovered in the attic by his children, both the trunk and its contents are now displayed in the museum at the USS Arizona Memorial.[citation needed]

Awards and decorations[edit]

Admiral Kidd posthumously received the Medal of Honor and the Purple Heart. His other awards include the Army of Cuban Pacification Medal, Mexican Service Medal, World War I Victory Medal with Atlantic Fleet Clasp, American Defense Service Medal with Fleet Clasp, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one bronze battle star for Pearl Harbor (posthumous), and the World War II Victory Medal (posthumous).

A light blue ribbon with five white five pointed stars
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Medal of Honor | Purple Heart
Cuban Pacification Medal Mexican Service Medal World War I Victory Medal
with Atlantic Fleet Clasp
American Defense Service Medal
with Fleet Clasp
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
with star
World War II Victory Medal

Namesake and relations[edit]

Medal of Honor citation[edit]

"For conspicuous devotion to duty, extraordinary courage, and complete disregard of his own life, during the attack on the Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, by Japanese Forces on December 7, 1941. He immediately went to the bridge and as Commander Battleship Division ONE, courageously discharged his duties as Senior Officer Present Afloat until the USS Arizona, his Flagship, blew up from magazine explosions and a direct bomb hit on the bridge, which resulted in the loss of his life."

See also[edit]


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Naval History & Heritage Command.
This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.