Retired Navy Rear Adm. Richard Starr Craighill, 70, who saw combat aboard destroyers in the Pacific during World War II and later served as an assistant chief of naval operations, died Thursday in a hospital in Atlanta after a heart attack.

He participated in the first Battle of Savo Island and in the landings at Guadalcanal as executive officer of the destroyer "Blue." He later commanded the destroyer "Drayton" in actions from New Guinea to Leyte. He was awarded the Bronze Star with Combat "V" and the Silver Star Medal.

Following the war, Adm. Craighill was secretary of the academic board at the Naval Academy from 1945 to 1948, then director of legislation in the Bureau of Naval Personnel in the early 1950s.

He served in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations at various times from the mid-1950s to 1960, and was assistant chief of naval operations for plans and policy from 1964 to 1965.

He was commandant of the 10th Naval District with headquarters in San Juan, P.R., for two years before retiring in 1967.

In addition to his other medals, he twice received the Legion of Merit.

Adm. Craighill spent eight years as comptroller for the Westminister Schools in Atlanta before retiring a second time in the mid 1970s.

He was a member of Grace Episcopal Church in Alexander, the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, and the Lees of Virginia. He lived in Arlington before moving to Atlanta in 1967.

Adm. Craighill was born in Oakmont, Pa., and reared in Washington. He graduated from Western High School, attended George Washington University, and graduated from the Naval Academy at Annapolis in 1932. He also was a graduate of the Naval Postgraduate School and the Naval War College.

Survivors include his wife, the former Virginia Drewry Jones of Atlanta; two sons, Richard S. Jr., of Alexandria, and Navy Lt. William S., aboard the nuclear-powered guided missile cruiser "Arkansas;" a daughter, Drew C. Cooper of Westminster, Calif.; two brothers, retired Army Maj. James R., of Arlington, and retired Navy Rear Adm, Robert R., now an Episcopal priest in McLean, and four grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the American Heart Fund, St. Philip's Episcopal Catherdral in Atlanta, or the charity of one's choice.