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U.S. Veteran
Obituary Viewed 277 times
August 6, 1939 - February 26, 2024

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Captain Earl R. Riffle, USN, Retired, passed away on February 26, 2024, in Brunswick, Maine.
He was the son of Harry E. Riffle and Alyce I. Riffle born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, on August 6, 1939. He graduated from German township High School in 1956, and The Pennsylvania State University in 1960. Upon graduation from Penn State, he was commissioned an Ensign in the United States Navy with his initial assignment to Navy flight training and was designated a Naval Aviator in February 1962. He was assigned to Patrol Squadron 49 flying the P5M Martin Marlin seaplane out of U.S. Naval Station Bermuda and participated in the Cuban Quarantine/blockade during the Cuban missile Crisis.
During the remainder of his 30 year career Captain Riffle had various shore assignments which included: Assistant Professor of Naval Science at the University of South Carolina in Columbia South Carolina; Staff of the Commander Canadian Atlantic Sub Area and the Staff of Commander Maritime Air group in Halifax Nova Scotia; the Staff of Commander Naval Force U.S. Atlantic fleet in Norfolk, Virginia, where he served as the VP Readiness and Training officer; and the Dean of Students at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island.

His operational tours included the USS Constellation (CVA64) where he served in the Air Department and had two WESTPAC deployments to the Tonkin Gulf; Patrol Squadron 23 at NAS Brunswick, Maine, where he served as the Maintenance and Operations Officer; Patrol Squadron Eight at NAS Brunswick, Maine, where he served as the Executive Officer and then Commanding Officer. During his tour, VP-8 won the AVCM Donald M. Neal Golden Wrench award for excellence in aviation maintenance, the Arnold J. Isabel
Award for ASW excellence and was awarded the Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation and the Navy Unit Commendation. He was Commander of Reserve Patrol Wing Atlantic from 1982-1984, and in June 1984, he became Commanding Officer Naval Air Reserve Norfolk in Norfolk, Virginia.

“Rif” as Earl was known to many, had strong family support throughout his career and retirement. He met and married Joan Duck during his first tour in Bermuda. Together, they raised their daughter, Calin, and in 1974, built a home in Brunswick, Maine, which they named “Springhill.” Captain Riffle retired after 30 years of active duty service on July 1, 1990. He spent his retirement years at Springhill and in Pennsylvania, sharing many of these years reunited with his high school and college sweetheart, Louise Hammer. The last 34 years saw him engage with, enjoy, and contribute to both his family and friends in southwest Pennsylvania, and the tight-knit Brunswick and Navy family communities. Be it Veterans or Memorial Day Parades, Happy Hour at the Elks, or Mai Tai’s at Springhill…he was truly at HOME in Brunswick. His service to his country and commitment to his community were honored when he was selected to be Grand Marshall of the Brunswick Memorial Day Parade in 2019.

A man who cherished his many personal relationships with family and friends, he is survived by his adoring daughter Calin Riffle, grandson Geraint Riffle, and his brothers Ron, of Boyertown, Pennsylvania, and Don, of Alexandria, Virginia. He will be long remembered and sadly missed by all who knew him.

Memorial donations in Captain Riffle’s memory may be made to Brunswick Naval Aviation Museum, 179 Admiral Fitch Avenue, Brunswick, Maine, 04011. Remembrance and interment service details will be provided at a later date.

A man who cherished his many personal relationships with family and friends, he is survived by his adoring daughter Calin Riffle, grandson Geraint Riffle, and his brothers Ron, of Boyertown, Pennsylvania, and Don, of Alexandria, Virginia. He will be long remembered and sadly missed by all who knew him.

Memorial donations in Captain Riffle’s memory may be made to Brunswick Naval Aviation Museum, 179 Admiral Fitch Avenue, Brunswick, Maine, 04011. The “viewing/memorial/gathering of friends” will be at Jacobs Lutheran Church, 342 Lutheran Church Road, Masontown, Pa., 15461 on Thursday May 16th from 9:30 – 11:00 a.m. with Pastor William Henry officiating, followed immediately with interment in Jacobs Lutheran Church Cemetery. Military Rights by Masontown VFW Post 4584 and American Legion Post 423 will be accorded at grave site.