ISAAC C. KIDD, RADM, USN
Isaac Kidd '06
Date of birth: March 26, 1884
Date of death: December 7, 1941
From the 1906 Lucky Bag:
Biography & Loss
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 1907–1909 Great White Fleet cruise around the world while serving on the battleship New Jersey. Following service on the battleship North Dakota and armored cruiser Pennsylvania, 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 1916–1917.
During and after World War I, Kidd was stationed on New Mexico, and then he had further staff and Naval Academy service. He was the executive officer of the battleship Utah in 1925–1926, then commanded Vega until becoming the Captain of the Port at Cristóbal, Panama Canal Zone from 1927 to 1930. Promoted to the rank of captain, he was the Chief of Staff to the Commander, Base Force, United States Fleet in 1930–1932. After three years at the Bureau of Navigation in Washington, D.C., he was the Commander of Destroyer Squadron One, Scouting Force, in 1935–1936.
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 Arizona blew up from a magazine explosion and a direct bomb hit on the bridge which resulted in the loss of his life."
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 Arizona's bridge. 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.
Isaac Campbell Kidd was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on 26 March 1884. He entered the U.S. Naval Academy in 1902, graduating with the Class of 1906 in February of that year, and was commissioned an Ensign in 1908. Kidd participated in the 1907-09 "Great White Fleet" cruise around the World while serving in USS New Jersey (BB-16). Following service in USS North Dakota (BB-29) and USS Pittsburgh (Armored Cruiser # 4), he became Aide and Flag Secretary to the Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet, the first of his many flag staff assignments. He was an instructor at the Naval Academy in 1916-17.
During and after the First World War, Kidd was stationed on USS New Mexico (BB-40), then had further staff and Naval Academy service. He was executive officer of the battleship Utah (BB-31) in 1925-26, then commanded USS Vega (AK-17) until becoming Captain of the Port at Chrisobal, Panama Canal Zone in 1927-30. Promoted to the rank of Captain, he was Chief of Staff to Commander, Base Force, U.S. Fleet in 1930-32. After three years at the Bureau of Navigation in Washington, D.C., he was Commander Destroyer Squadron ONE, Scouting Force, in 1935-36.
Captain Kidd next attended the Naval War College and served on the College staff. He was Commanding Officer of USS Arizona (BB-39) from September 1938 until February 1940, when he was promoted to Rear Admiral and assigned as Commander Battleship Division ONE and Chief of Staff to Commander, Battleships, Battle Force. On 7 December 1941, he was killed in action on board Arizona during the Pearl Harbor Raid. Rear Admiral Isaac C. Kidd was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Pearl Harbor attack.
His wife was listed as next of kin. He was also survived by a son, Isaac C. Kidd, Jr., USNA '41, and future Commander in Chief of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet. "As Time Magazine described the event, when Kidd received his commission as Ensign 'the U.S. Naval Academy and its guests broke into a thunderous cheer—an unprecedented demonstration in honor of Ensign Kidd and his father.'"
He has a memory marker in the Naval Academy Cemetery.
All pictures below from Naval History and Heritage Command.
"With officers of his staff, on board USS Argonne (AS-10), circa 1932. Seated in the front row are (left to right): Commander Leo L. Lindley, Aide & Force Material Officer; Captain Issac C. Kidd, Chief of Staff; Rear Admiral H.H. Hough, ComBaseFor; Captain Ellsworth H. Van Patten, (SC), Aide & Force Supply Officer; and Lieutenant Commander Jacob H. Jacobson, in charge of Battle Force Camera Party. Among those in the rear row are (in no particular order): Lieutenant Thomas F. Darden, Jr., Aide & Flag Secretary; Lieutenant Walter E. Moore, Aide & Force Personnel Officer; and Lieutenant Llewellyn J. Johns, Aide and Flag Lieutenant."
"Photographed on the deck of his ship, circa 1939. Captain Kidd has inscribed the original print: To my able gunnery officer and friend Commander Abercrombie. Sincerely, Isaac Campbell Kidd. Lieutenant Commander Laurence A. Abercrombie was assigned to Arizona during the latter part of Kidd's tour as her Commanding Officer."
Medal of Honor
From Hall of Valor:
The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pride in presenting the Medal of Honor (Posthumously) to Rear Admiral Isaac Campbell Kidd (NSN: 0-5715), United States Navy, 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 7 December 1941. Rear Admiral Kidd immediately went to the bridge and, as Commander Battleship Division ONE, courageously discharged his duties as Senior Officer Present Afloat until the U.S.S. ARIZONA (BB-39), his Flagship, blew up from magazine explosions and a direct bomb hit on the bridge which resulted in the loss of his life.
Division: U.S.S. Arizona (BB-39)
Camp Kidd—known now as Balboa Park, San Diego—was named in his honor for the duration of the war.
USS Kidd (DD 661) was named for Isaac; the ship was sponsored by his widow. USS Kidd (DDG 993) and USS Kidd (DDG 100) were also named for him; the latter is sponsored by his granddaughters, Regina Kidd Wolbarsht and Mary Kidd Plumer.