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USS LOWRY DD-770

0400 PM May 28,1945. All is calm and we expect to be out here about four days before we go back to the Transport Area at Okinawa, a very wnderful place to be compared to this Picket Station.

June 7,1945. Tonight, we have been on another Radar Picket Station, number 5, located 20 miles East of Okinawa. We are to be relieved tomorrow Friday, June 8, 1945 and go back into Okinawa at Nagushie Beach. We saw some more action tonight Thursday, June 7, 1945. We went to General Quarters 15 minutes early and if we had not we would have been hit. There were Boggies reported 40 miles out when we went to GQ and we received a report that the Picket Station next to us was under attack. All of a sudden we spotted a Jap plane off our port quarter flying not over 10 feet above the water. When he got into about 3000 yards, she went up to about 200 feet and started his dive at us. We were firing 5" 38s, 40 MM, 20 MM, everything we could at him. He got in close enough to identify him as a Val. One of our 5" bursts hit him and he went down in a fireball. The second plane made his sneak attack almost immediately and was a Jap Val also. He was just skimming the water as low as he could. We shot full salvos (6 five" shell at a time) and brought him down. His bomb blew him to eternity.

Vals are built for dive bombing and make great suicide planes. We have shot down 7 Jap planes so far to date. We were relieved this morning from Radar Picket Station number 5 and are headed back to Kerama Retto. When we came around the Southern end of Okinawa we saw a small canoe and ran it down. It had 7 Jap Army Infantrymen in it. There was one officer and six enlisted men. We trained our guns on the port side at them and motioned them to come towards us. They started to paddle away from us so we fired a few rounds in the water beside them and they changed their course and came alongside the LOWRY. We let a ladder down to them under cover with two Tommy Machine guns and the OOD and other Officers wore their guns.  As soon as they stepped on deck we made them put their hands behind their heads and face the bulkhead.  We then made them take all their clothes off and stand there while we searched their clothing.  We then threw their clothes over the side and gave them Navy dungarees.  One man was rather old, in his 40's, another was about fifteen years old.  None could speak English and all were real scared and we're sure we would shoot them any minute.  When we emptied their pockets we found three pitchers on the officer with him and his dress uniform.  The 40 year old had a picture of a brand new American 1941 Ford Coupe.  They also had a few recognition pictures of Japanese planes.  One had a campaign bar with two silver stars on it.  All had handkerchiefs with a Japanese flag and four vertical lines of Japanese writing.  All of them have lost their shoes.  The boat had 5 lbs. of rice, some official papers and a leather satchel. We kept them aboard and sunk their boat.

 

Returned to Kerama Retto with them and turned them over to the War Prison Camp.  We worked on the LOWRY for three days at Okinawa in Hugushi Beach.

 

Today, June 11, 1945 we are back on Radar Picket Station number 11 with two other destroyers, the USS Rowe DD-564, and the USS Smalley DD -565. We came to this Radar Picket Station this morning.  No action so far and we are not looking for it unless it comes our way.

 

To bring this little black book up to date, June 26, 1945 we are back on Radar Picket Station number 15 again! Our Captain had a conference on the beach before we came back here with our Admiral Boss (CTG 31.15) and Commodore (CDS 60) our Squadron Commander.  They have both recommend the the USS Lowry for the Presidential Unit Citation, the highest award given to ships in the Navy.  They also told our Captain we were scheduled to go back to the rear area for rest commencing July 1, 1945, which is four days away.  The last time we were here on Radar Picket Station number 15, the DREXLER was sunk.  Last night we were under air attack from 0730 PM until 0530 AM this morning.  All of us together shot down five planes throughout the night.  One by the LOWRY with a direct hit with our 5"/38, another together with the Destroyer USS Boyd and the LOWRY and three Japanese planes by our CAP Night Fighters.  We exploded 483 rounds of 5"/38 MK 53 projectiles throughout the night.  We have to fire on them at night by Radar Control.  We can pick up the Japanese at night because they do not have any IFF (radar identification).

Today, July 23, 1945 is an anniversary for the USS Lowry. Today is her very first birthday and she's one year old.  This morning we had another attack and our CPA shot down a Japanese fighter.  This morning our Task Force Commander sent us a message I received by flashing light telling us that the Lowry DD-770, Barton DD-722, Walke DD-723, and the Moale DD-693 were to depart at 1400 this afternoon for Leyte. Our four ships make up Squadron 60.  After about 25 hours at fifteen knots from Okinawa, we saw smoke on the horizon and two of us, the LOWRY and BARTON headed towards the smoke at flank speed.  The other two Destroyers stayed on their course.  When we reached the spot where the smoke came from, all that was left was wreckage floating on the water from a US Destroyer Escort. It had been sunk by two Japanese submarines which crash-dived as soon as they saw us on the horizon.  They had surfaced and strafed all Americans who had abandoned ship.  For the last two days, we have been making circles over them dropping depth charges, but they will not surface.  We think they would rather stay on the bottom and die, rather than come up and fight it out.

 

Is now noon July 26, 1945 and all is calm.  We have just received word that we are getting relieved today at 0100 by the Destroyer USS Allic and are to proceed back to Kerama Retto and then for that wonderful rest down south at Leyte, Ulithie, or Guam for a few weeks if we are lucky.  It will be wonderful to play a game of baseball again, feel good dirt under our feet and swim on the beach.  We'll have to get the LOWRY back in ship shape and receive a lot of letters from home and answer them.

 

So many numerous times in this last operation have I escaped death by degrees and countless times I knew I was going to die, that I would never see the next sunset or sunrise, then through some miracle, I have survived unscratched.  I have had men die within arms length of me in battle and seen men go completely mad through tremendous fright and shock.  God has been good to me and there will be a feeling between the Lord and myself as long as I live.

 

Eight months at sea today, two months of which have been continuous battle.  Home seems like a dream. I can't even imagine the thrill I would get to walk in the country through the meadows, to walk down the streets of a city, to see a woman would be like seeing a goddess. I want to be home with my Mother and Father and friends so much that at times it seems unbearable.  Then I remember the courage my Mom and Dad always have had facing any crisis that comes their way, then I know I can take it on the chin and be able to fight for my beloved country and the good of mankind that we make the sacrifices for.  Then I'm aglow and I'll try and fight more Japs.

 

Our relief is on the horizon now so we will start back to Kerama Retto within the hour.  The reason I'm aware of many things we do is because I am a Signalman on the bridge and get to work constantly with the Captain, E. S. Miller, the Executive Officer and OOD.

 

This morning while I was on Signalman watch on the bridge (0730 to 1230) the Captain had his picture taken on top of the director by the Japanese flags for planes we had shot down, I watched him then happened to turn around and looked towards the stern of the ship when a huge puff of smoke blew out of the stern with a loud bang.  Immediately the speaker announce an explosion in number 3 compartment (living quarters for the crew). We went to General Quarters and the firefighters went to work.  It is 0100 now and I'm off watch.  The explosion was caused by a 5 gal. can of Tec-cloride being lifted out of the hatch by Menkie, who was killed instantly.  Twenty-one men resting in that compartment were burned externally.  One of the fellows named Keith is not expected to live.  He was burnt from head to toe. That compartment was my old one I use to sleep in, and fortunately I moved forward about three months ago.  I have changed watch sections, otherwise I would have been back there.  We are now headed for Leyte at flank speed (27 knots) with one dead, one dying and 20 seriously burnt. We will arrive at Leyte around 0800 AM tomorrow morning. I am fine but very sad for those fine men.  Keith died late the next morning and so did another fellow named Foster.  Foster was buried at Okinawa while Keith and Menkie were buried at sea.

 

Left Leyte Gulf  August 20, 1945 and arrived in Tokyo Bay September 16, 1945, with Battleship Missouri for Japan surrender signing.  I visited Tokyo, Yokohama, and Yokosuka while in Japan.

Left Tokyo Bay September 18, 1945 to arrive at Okinawa. Returned October 9, 1945 to Tokyo Bay.

Left Tokyo Bay October 20, 1945 for the good old UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Thank God.

 

Robert J. (Bob) Pinnick SM3/c

U.S. NAVY