May 1996 B&S
Albert Stell X. O. USS LOWRY (DD-770) '60 - '61
The LOWRY went through shipyard overhaul at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth VA in the early 1960s. She was FRAMed (Fleet Repair and Modernization). During this period, she received a hangar and deck house to operate remote controlled DASH drones (dipping sonar) and a VDS(Variable Depth Sonar) being evaluated by ASW Forces Atlantic. During sea trials, Lowry developed shaft noises and for a short while was dry-docked with the submarine USS GRAMPUS. We would later play "cat and mouse" with the GRAMPUS many times after our refresher training at GITMO. During the FRAM period, we made numerous trips to sea trying to rid Lowry of the shaft noises - actually 9 times out and into the river. On the 9th trip the shipyard pilot casually said to me (as Navigator), "Guess you know it only takes 10 trips in/out the Elizabeth River to qualify as a pilot." (I fell one short).
LOWRY represented the U S Navy in Trinidad at the signing of a new United Bases Agreement as Trinidad obtained her independence. She participated as part of Task Group ALFA monitoring the sub-orbital flight of "LIBERTY BELL SEVEN". LOWRY also represented the Atlantic Fleet at the Azalea Festival in Wilmington NC, April 1961.
CDR Mel Cassidy was Commanding Officer, USS LOWRY 1959 - 1961. He received flight training through the Navy's civilian pilot training program. In early 1944, he flew from the LANGLEY with Fighter Squadron 23 and participated in the first raids on Japan and in the invasions of Iwo Jima and Okinawa (among citations awarded him was the Silver Star). He (LTJG) had been one of the early members of the Blue Angels when they were flying F6Fs (an "original" member for one tour in 1946).
His tour with the Blue Angels may have been shortened as a result of developing eye trouble (he had to have a special eye test to pass his physicals in the '60s). He had attended Post Graduate School (Intelligence) and was posted to Aden (this may have occurred after a tour in the Pentagon).
CDR Albert P. Carpenter, "APC", relieved CDR Cassidy on April 26, 1961. He looked after his "crew" and was a fine mentor. He was a native of South Carolina, entered the navy in 1938 as an NROTC student at the Georgia Institute of Technology, appointed as a Midshipman by the Secretary of the Navy, entered the Naval Academy in June 1940, graduated in 1943 and received orders to the USS SIGSBEE (DD-502). He served in numerous Pacific amphibious and carrier strike operations until the end of WWII. He was then assigned to mine sweepers, USS CRUISE (AM-502) and USS REVENGE (AM-110). This was followed by Naval Post Graduate School in 1947. He was assigned to the USS WILLIAMSBURG (the President's Yacht, with additional duty as White House Aid and Naval Communications Officer to the President). In 1950 he was assigned to the staff of CINC Atlantic Fleet as Aide and Flag Lieutenant to ADM W. M. Fechteler, he then returned to the Mine Forces as Commanding Officer of the USS SAGE (AM-111). This was followed by orders to: the USS MISSISSIPPI; the USS Allen M SUMNER (DD-692) in 1956; the USS DES MOINES CA-134, Flagship, US Sixth Fleet. Later promoted to Captain he was assigned as Naval Attaché at Londonderry, Ireland.
The LOWRY participated in the Cuban blockade under the command of CDR Carpenter. Word has it that she held contact with a submarine which eventually had to surface.
The following poem appeared in the Bucket and Swab dated Saturday, 27 April 1946 - copy provided by Charles Wright, USS Lowry WWII
Submitted by Tommy Peters
I am sitting here and thinking Of the day I left behind, and I think I'll put on paper What's running through my mind. People on the outside think A sailor's life is swell, But I'll let you in on something Mate. A sailor's life is hell!!
A sailor has one consoling thought. Gather close and I will tell. When I die I'll go to heaven because I've DONE my time in hell. I scrubbed a million bulkheads And I've chipped miles of paint. A meaner place this side of hell, I'll swear to you there ain't.
I've stood for endless hours Just waiting for my mail, And I've stood a million watches And had every special detail. I've shined a million miles of brass And I've scrubbed dirty duds; I've swanged a million hammocks And I've peeled a million spuds.
I've cruised a million million miles And I've made a million ports; I've spent a million nights in jail For trying to be a sport. But when those final taps are sounded And I lay aside life's cares, I'll take my final shore leave Right up those golden stairs.
'Tis then St. Peter will Greet me, and He will yell, "Take your front seat in heaven sailor, You've spend your time in hell!!"Articles Continued