After several days rest in Sasebo, Japan where we had a Tender period, we headed into the Yellow Sea for new and slightly different operations.
It was in this neighborhood that we were to stay for our longest time out, about six weeks, without replenishing with fresh provisions. We found ourselves at this time operating with a mixture of British, Canadian and other American ships. During this time we maneuvered with a task group and also did some patroling inshore of some of the many islands in protection against any movement the "Commies" might have in mind.
It was while operating in this neck of the woods that on a certain Monday evening a great transformation took place on the "LUCKY LOWRY". Yes, it was on this day that all and any boys that had started this cruise were forcefully transformed into men in approximately 15 minutes time. We might also add here that the ones that were men already gained a few years and probably a few gray hairs. There is nothing that can make these changes any quicker than being under actual fire. And that is just what happened when four shore batteries opened up on us simultaneously. Many things that happened during that experience can be looked back at now and laughed at, but you can rest assured that during that time the pulse-beat of every man jumped about forty beats.
Actually the "Commies" probably thought that they stirred up a "hornet's nest", because while their four batteries were throwing approximately 50 rounds at us we were throwing 243 back at them. We won't boast too much, but we think that at least two of the four emplacements were eating their own guns before it was all over.
And so after that ordeal we were all sure that they did have guns and did know how to shoot them. Lucky for us however, they evidently didn't know how to shoot them well enough and we emerged without a scratch of any kind. If, however, you count the nerves that were shattered, we were really scarred-up.
Upon completion of our mission there we bid our enemies goodbye with a 40 MM gun salute and wearily turned our bow toward Yokosuka for a few days of badly needed rest and relaxation before one last short trip back into the Sea of Japan and our final appearance in the war zone.
Upon the return from our last short cruise into the Sea of Japan, we arrived in Yokosuka for a stay just long enough to turn over information and gear to our relieving division. We then said "sayonara" to Japan for the last time and started the last and most pleasurable part of our homeward trek via the Mediterranean.
This was a return trip for the "LUCKY LOWRY". Some eight years and two days before she had visited the island of Okinawa under slightly different circumstances. As mentioned in the history of the Lowry, it was here that she received the name of "LUCKY".
Upon reporting in Okinawa, we immediately began Anti-Submarine Warfare exercises. It was on one of these exercises that we were playing hide and seek with the sub USS CAIMAN. We made a run on the underwater boys and proceeded to plant a practice hedge-hog right in the superstructure of the sub. When the sub surfaced, they found it and kindly returned it to us where-upon we slapped an inscription and placed it in the mess hall to be seen by. By all parties concerned, it was considered to have been quite a feat.
Since the liberty in Okinawa presented practically nothing to talk about, we shall continue on to our next and more interesting stop.
We left Yokosuka on the 22nd day of June just in time to hit the edge of a hurricane that did quite a bit of damage to Japan when it finally got there. All the fury this hurricane would muster was absolutely useless because the "LUCKY LOWRY" had her nose pointed home and nothing short of disaster was about to slow her down.
Our first stop on our "Good-Will" Cruise back home was in Singapore, Malaya. This was around a thousand miles from Japan and took us 6 days, 23 hours, and 28 minutes (excluding time changes) to get there.
In Singapore we found that it was naturally hot due to being close to the equator. We also found that true to the stories told about it, it is one of the largest import-export spots in the world. In fact it was so busy and full of ships that we had a hard time squeezing our little "tin cans" inside the harbor. You could stand on deck and see ships from just about every part of the world either loading, unloading, or both operations at the same time. It was definitely a port of fascination and intrigue.
Among the more outstanding sights in Singapore were the Tiger Balm Gardens. These gardens were built by a very wealthy industrialist who had quite an imagination as well as a lot of money. It was very elaborately set with everything from dragons to images of human beings. In trying to bring out his conception of life before, now, and after, it was in all a creation of marvelous beauty.
Another main stop was the Temple of Buddha. The temple in itself was not exceptionally large and was guarded at the door by two very ferocious looking tiger statues. However, once inside, you found that the image which the temple protected was anything but small.
Sitting on a platform about five feet high, the image of Buddha towers some fifty feet over the heads of the people that come to worship or just to see. The statute is a very fine piece of work and weighs more than several tons. No matter from which side you looked at it, it was a lot of statue. While in Singapore the Captain presented the local yacht club with one of our life-rings with our name and number on it. Let's hope that they can keep it in the club room to look at and never have to use it.
Since we were still a long way from home and grudgingly (chuckle) had to be on our way, at 0622 I July 1952 we heaved in our hook and set a course to Colombo, Ceylon.
Shortly after leaving Singapore we began to notice a change in the crew. The "Old Salts" that had passed this way before at one time or another began to draw off to themselves and talking in low tones. We also noticed that nearly all of them began constructing strange looking contraptions which we later found out were to be used as "persuaders, initiators, paddles or what have you". However, a little later on these items disappeared 100%
When the "Pollywogs" (those who had not crossed the equator) got wind that we were going to cross the equator, they promptly declared the day prior to the crossing (2 July 1952) as "Pollywog Day". Since the "Shellbacks" (those who had been across) were out-numbered about 4 to I they took quite a beating on that day. There was much wrestling, raiding, tumbling and of course many fire hoses. One of the highlights of the day was a dispatch intercepted between the USS FOX and the USS LAFFEY. Said the FOX, "the Pollywogs have taken over the ship". Retorted the LAFFEY, "embarassing isn't it". Needless to say, it was a weary, dripping, happy-go-lucky crew that turned into their bunks that night. Of course all the "Pollywogs" had pleasant dreams of the terribly tortuous events to take place the next day.
Bright and early the morning of the 3rd day of July, all lowly, slimy, land-loving, liberty-going, "Pollywogs" were abruptly awakened from their slumber to save breakfast to all the highly honorable "Shellbacks". The "Pollywogs" were considered too lowly to deserve any chow and so their paunches went empty.
Along towards mid-morning the Royal High Court of the Ancient Order of the Deep boarded the ship and immediately all lowly, slimy, scurvy "Pollywogs" paid tribute by falling to their knees and kissing the deck.
After several trips around the deck of the ship with the deck treads scraping off the skin of both hands and knees, the Royal Court began session and passing out judgment to all intruders to the Royal Domain.
In his turn each meek little "Pollywog" stepped to the head of the paddle line and presented the subpoena that he had been given a few days before and awaited his judgment. It was here that he found out the fruitlessness of his efforts in throwing over-board the "persuaders", because he was now faced with a long double line of angry looking "Shellbacks", each one being armed with a length of fire-hose. It was between these two lines that he had to pass on hands and knees in order to reach the throne, kiss the Royal Baby and receive his judgment, which was guilty no matter how he pleaded. And so after he was operated on and the slime cut out he had one more vicious looking line of paddle swingers to pass. At the end of the line we found a slimy, soaked, exhausted, beaten glob of flesh that was too weak to walk, but never-the-less, glorifying in the fact that he was and ever will be of the Glorious Order of the Court of Neptunis Rex.
Nursing our aches and bruises and standing up to eat, we steamed into the harbor of Colombo, Ceylon on the 6th of July. We found that Colombo was famous for its elephants and the great extent in which they were used. Nearly any place you found any kind of work going on you found the huge lumbering, but oh so gentle, beasts going about the tasks lined out for them.
Among the sights to see here were the world-famous Botanical Gardens where you could find just about any species of plant life that you desired to see. Also one of the largest zoos in the world was there to behold. Everything from the smallest fish to the largest giraffe was there to be looked at and to pose for pictures. And of course there were several more Buddha Temples to visit.
However all of our time in Colombo wasn't spent in sight-seeing. We also played a softball tournament. We dubbed it the Colombo "Little World Series". Naturally the "LUCKY LOWRY", came out on top. After defeating the LAFFEY 14-1 and the FOX 11-0 we went on to beat the Naval Attache Team 9-1. All this took place in two days. Of course the losing team was supposed to buy the beer.
The Attache Team had two trophies for the occasion. The bigger one was to be engraved with the winner's name and score and the smaller was presented to the LOWRY for the championship.
Departing Colombo in the early morning of the 7th of July, we set a course for Bahrien. Arabia, some 2202 miles awav.
Pulling into Bahrien, Arabia we found that we were surrounded with many, many, "Coney Islands" of sand and heat intense enough to fry breakfast on the deck.
Liberty was very little here and consisted of a little shopping (in which we think a few of our boys must have been on the wrong side of the counter); practically no sight-seeing except for a few old ruins. The main issue was oil, oil and more oil. The barrels per day around here run into 6, 7, and 8 figures and so we didn't stop to count them.
Thinking that it would be a good diplomatic gesture to stay with these people, the Captain and several other officers attended a banquet thrown by the Shiek of Bahrien. It is told that they couldn't quite tell exactly what all the courses consisted of, but it was boiled goat? and all sorts of "goodies" like that.
After making friend's and shaking hands with several nullion barrels of that old "black gold", we took our leave the morning of July 14th and headed back out of the Persian (Hades) Gulf, around the bend of Saudi Arabia to Aden, (Still Arabia).