Well do we recall that stormy, wintry day in January 1952 when our ship, her lines cast off and her whistle bellowing a prolonged wail, backed clear of the slip in Norfolk and headed Southward on the first leg of her combat assignment and world cruise. There were many amongst us for whom this was the first taste of salt water and the life of a sailor on the high seas.
The days, following in seemingly endless succession, brought their full measure of training and experience so urgently needed. Finally came those days for which we had so earnestly prepared; those days, weeks and months of hard work, anxious moments and unbeatable determination in the Far East Combat Areas. The rest is now well known; the fine services performed in the task forces we screened; the destruction wrought the enemy in our shore fire bombardments; the successful completion of as- signments in combined operations with the Forces of Allied Nations. Ulti- mately, came the time for departure and return to home waters with the many courtesy visits scheduled in foreign ports.
We knew the need and displayed the ability to represent our country to best advantage wherever we went. We showed consideration for others; always giving the best that is America. We did our fair share to bring goodwill and, we hope, better understanding to the Community of Nations. A fighting man's best reward is the success engendered by a common purpose and exacting teamwork. All in the LOWRY can take pride in a job well done and share its reflection in the reputation of our ship and division. The memories of friends, deeds and experiences are ours forever to take with us wherever we go.
First of the Navy's hard-hitting new 2,200-ton destroyers to slide down the wavs of the Pacific Coast's Bethlehem Steel Co. of San Pedro. Calif., the USS LOWRY'S keel was laid on August 1, 1943. She was christened and launched on February 6, 1944 by Miss Ann Lowry, a great-grand- daughter of Commodore Reigert B. Lowry for whom the ship was named. The LOWRY was commissioned five months later on July 23, 1944.
Shortly after commissioning and upon completion of shake-down training the LOWRY set sail for the Pacific war zone where she participated in the closing engagements of the war, notable the battle for Okinawa. During 1945 she was attached to Task Group 77.2 for the Luzon operation; to Task Group 58.4 for the lwo Jima campaign; and Task Group 52.1 for the invasion of Okinawa.
After having avoided damage after several close calls the ship had earned the nickname of "Lucky Lowry". One of these close calls occurred when a total eclipse of a full moon took place over Okinawa while the LOWRY was under "hot attack", thus giving her a chance to escape. However as luck isn't an absolute thing the LOWRY came due while serving on radar picket duty north of Okinawa. On May 4, 1945 a Kamikaze crashed into mount 53 resulting in injury to 23 and death to 2 members of the crew.
The LOWRY earned four battle stars on the Asiatic-Pacific Area Service Ribbon; the Navy Occupation Service Medal, Pacific; the Navy Unit Commendation; and for her latest operations the Korean Service Medal with two stars and the United Nations Service Medal. On 30 June 1947 the LOWRY was placed out of commission in reserve, in the San Diego Group, Pacific Reserve Fleet. She was put back in commission on 27 December 1950 in San Diego, California, and assigned to Destroyer Squadron 26 of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet. The Panama Canal was transited on 22 April 1951 and the LOWRY saw the Atlantic Ocean for the first time.
After a short Atlantic cruise Destroyer Squadron 26 was ordered to report to the Pacific. Alternately working as a unit with two different Task Forces. The LOWRY covered more than 30,000 nautical miles in the time she was gone from her home port.
The LOWRY had its most active month as a unit of a United Nations Task Force in May when 1,989 rounds of 5 inch 38 caliber projectiles were fired at enemy targets ranging from Red army, Combat Information Center Headquarters and gun emplacements to sampan concentrations along the Korean East Coast.
Finishing off the Korean tour of duty on 22 June 1952, the USS LOWRY departed and completed her round-the-world cruise.
22 January 1952
At 1212 on the afternoon of the 22nd day of January, the USS LOWRY cast off all lines with the destinationKorea. The weather was cloudy, misty and cold, and was in perfect harmony with the hearts of all the officers and men that were heading into the war area. It was with cold silence that we watched the familiar Convoy Escort Piers fade into the distance not knowing whether we would all return to see that sight or not. For the new "Boots" on board the next three days proved to be a trying ordeal. And not-only for the newcomers to the sea, but the "Old Salts" as well. It seemed we were met by all the fury the Atlantic could muster, to keep us from starting on our long, long mission. With all the pitching, heaving and forty degree rolls, the crew as a whole was, shall we say, quite "shook". It was then we developed the expression, "He who is shook is lost."
But in spite of the distemper of the elements, the "Lucky Lowry" in the company of Destroyer Division 261 was headed for her first pause en- route, which was the Panama Canal. This was her first scheduled stop on the once-in-a-lifetime round-the-world cruise (via Korea). For the many new men on board this was to be their first foreign port. So it was with anticipation of a joyful visit that we said "buenos dias Panama".
We found in Panama, that Spanish is the prevailing language. We also found that Panama in itself produces very little, and that nearly all the items stocked by the many shops are imported from all over the world. Here it is possible to find nearly any article from any country that you may desire. In the Canal Zone especially, you might say that they go "all out" for the tourist trade.
Making our stop on the Balboa side of the Canal, we were able to visit both Balboa and Panama City. Balboa is the American sector and lies or. the outskirts of Panama City.
Among the many old landmarks that remain around the city, one of the most outstanding is the Church of the Golden Altar. The Altar itself reaches from the floor to the ceiling and is covered with solid gold leaf. In the more modern line we found the El Panama Hotel, one of the most modern buildings in the world. In that very torrid climate it is remarkably well air conditioned principally by architectural design; and for all who visited it, the temperature was found most inviting.
Starting merrily on our way from Panama at 0800 on the 30th day of January 1952, the weather was fine and every one feeling greatand then the usual happened. Coming up the coast of Mexico the Pacific started the "wet heaves" and so did the crew. Once again the "Boots" were receiving their initiatory degrees of the briny deep.
Stopping at San Diego for three days, we had our last American meals, last American movies, last American "gedunks", and of course kissed our last American girls goodbye. And so at 0808, 9 February we anxiously hauled in our lines in anticipation of swaying palms, cool drinks, Waikiki Beach, and, last but not least, those unparalleled Hula Girls with the motivating grass skirts.
On 15 February at 1326 the lines were over, shoes were shined, whites were pressed, and in a very short time there was a steady stream of "drooling" sailors hitting the beach for long remembered liberties in the land of orchids, leis, and tropical love.
Having our utmost expectations filled and then some, we are proud to report that we really covered the "Isle of Paradise" in the most sailor- like fashion. We fought the surf boards; sipped their cooling drinks; ate their delicious meals; sniffed the flowers: and of course, watched the Hula Girls ---- Hula.
After two-and-a-half days of fun and frolic we hauled in our lines and bid the lovely island "Aloha Oui". And in leaving the sheltered harbor, with reverent eyes we payed tribute to all the brave men that had given their lives on that fatal 7th day of December 1941. May we never forget the sacrifice they made for us at Pearl Harbor that day.
As we remembered the honored dead in that harbor we turned the bow of our ship westward where once again freedom was being defended and lives were being given in payment. But with faith in God and our ship we set a course to take us into the midst of the conflict knowing that good must always conquer evil.
As we pulled into Tokyo Bay, for many of us it was seeing for the first time a country with customs and habits so very different from our own. After we had pulled our first liberty we found out just how different it really was.
Yes, here we were in the land of the Rising Sun in the midst of a nation we now occupied, but whose people we found to be very cordial and gracious. We also found that the average sized or taller "swabbie" had to soon learn to duck in passing through their doorways, or he lost his head. The Japanese people are small and build their structures accordingly and we have the knots to prove it.
Yokosuka just happened to be placed in a very convenient spot for the sailor who had strict orders not to leave Japan without a little something for the wife, mother-in-law, kid brother, papa-san, and his second cousin three times removed. If you couldn't find it in Yokosuka you could make a short train trip to Yokohama, and if in no luck there, you could travel a few miles farther to Tokyo, and if you had no luck there, you might as well give up because it wasn't to be found in Japan in the first place.
Probably the only ones happier to see us than the local merchants were the "bluepackets" of DesDiv 122. They were the lucky boys we were to relieve. So, equipped with the knowledge that this wasn't altogether a pleasure trip as yet, we got down to business with the "top brass" and advised him that we were there to see what was to be done about this trouble in Korea.
After spending some time in the forward area we were met in Sasebo by the usual mass of Rickshaw Boys, eager merchants, entertainment spots and so on. However, we did find that the surroundings seemed to be some- what newer than those in Yokosuka. In all respects this city seemed to have been born at a later date.
During our stay here we managed to squeeze in enough time to throw a ships party. This gala event (walk-in-pass-out) was held in the "strictly Japanese" hotel Ichi-Fugi. There was plenty of beer for the incililgers, soft-drinks for the non-indulgers, and a choice of either a steak dinner or sukiaki, which despite the looks was found to be very delectable. The evening was enlivened by the presence of a Japanese orchestra for dancing and the background to a floorshow.
The party had to be held two different nights to give everyone a chance to be there. It seems that they have some sort of a rule that there must be at least one-half of the crew on board to keep the little "bucket of bolts" company.
As a whole both nights went off very smoothly and everyone had a good time and enjoyed themselves.
All in all, we had a good time in Japan no matter where we happened to be. There was always a very wide variety of things to do.
So it was that at 0559 in the dark of the morning of the 3rd day of March, we parted company with the Tender we had been snuggling againsi and were underway for the "front". As we steamed along the coast of Honshu Island we were awed by the beauty of spectacular Fuji-yama, anc with our brave little hearts pounding in our throats we hoped we woulc have the opportunity to see it again.
Our first job after joining the task force operating in the Sea of Japar was to take our position in the screen. This was blended in with intermittent carrier plane-guarding assignments.
We had been in company with the task force exactly 32 hours and 5 minutes when we were assigned our first shore-fire bombardment mission Not that we minded, but these jokers could have at least let us get acclimatec first. But, being good sailors and well heeled to rules and regulations we shoved-off to play havoc with the North Korean Railroad (Red Pacific).
We made runs up to the bombardment area on this trip the 7th, 1.3th and 25th, which totaled up to 4 days on the bomb line and 423 rounds ol 5" shells expended. Box Score 3 runs, many hits, and no errors.
After "working on the railroad" we returned to the task force to find that we were in the honored presence of the Secretary of the Navy. Mr. Secretary was riding the Valley Forge and I am sure that he was pleased with what he saw, because at this time the task force was running like a flawless machine. Mr. Secretary had all the more reason to be satisfied when the "LUCKY LOWRY" made a speedy recovery of one naval pilot in the pitch black, wee hours, of the morning of the 30th day of March. At 0446 plane hit the soup; 0447 stationed plane-guard detail; 0448 plane- guard manned; 0449 Captain took the conn; 0454 pilot was aboard safe and sound but chilled to the bone. The water temperature was 35 degrees that morning, and if you don't think that is cold, just ask the man that went in after the pilot.
So, with our first "policing action" complete, at 0001 31 March we bid the task force "Sayonara" and set a course for Buckner Bay, Okinawa for a little ASW exercising.