The USS Lowry was built in August 1943, by Bethlehem Steel in San Pedro, California. The destroyer, sponsored by Miss Ann Lowry, launched on February 6, 1944, and was commissioned on July 23.
Action in World War II
The Lowry left San Pedro on October 26, 1944, and sailed to Pearl Harbor with Commander L. H. Martin at the helm. The vessel arrived at San Pedro Bay on December 14. During the period from December 19 to December 29, the Lowry shepherded convoys safely from Leyte to the Mindoro Islands and helped shield Mindoro from enemy assaults.
From January 2 to January 10, 1945, the Lowry operated as an effective task force screen and gunfire support ship during the invasion of Luzon, and then monitored the opening to the Lingayen Gulf, defending the beachhead, until her departure for Ulithi on January 22, 1945. The Lowry left Ulithi once again on February 10 to screen fast carrier TF 58 for air assaults against Honshu in support of the invasion of Iwo Jima.
On April 29, the Lowry served as radar picket off the coast of Okinawa. In the course of this dangerous duty, she participated in a number of battles with enemy aircraft. The most intense of these engagements took place on May 28th, when the Drexler (DD 741), an accompanying picket destroyer, was struck by suicide planes and went down with many lives lost at sea. The Lowry fought to try to help her companion ship, and after the Drexler sank, she stood by in the line of fire to take on survivors. The Lowry returned to Pearl Harbor in July. The vessel arrived at San Pedro Bay on July 27 and was honored with the Navy Unit Commendation for her assignment as radar picket.
After the War
The Lowry was decommissioned on June 30, 1947, and entered the Pacific Reserve Fleet, but was recommissioned on December 27, 1950, under the leadership of Commander C. H. Morrison, Jr. She took duty near the border of Korea, serving as a plane guard, and also took part in shore assaults. The ship left Yokosuka on June 29 for Suez, returning to Norfolk on August 25.
The Lowry once again departed for the Far East in April of 1965 on her first 7th Fleet deployment of the Vietnam conflict. She served near the coast of the beleaguered nation until returning to Norfolk on November 27. In 1973, she was struck from the Naval Register and transferred to Brazil until she was scrapped in 1996. The USS Lowry received four battle stars for World War II service and two for Korean service.
Asbestos in Navy Ships
Although an essential component of the naval fleet, especially during World War II, naval destroyers also pose a lasting health risk to soldiers serving on them. Unfortunately, products containing asbestos were common, especially on older ships, because of the material’s high resistance to heat and fire. Despite its value as an insulator, asbestos fiber intake can lead to several serious health consequences, including mesothelioma, a devastating cancer without cure. Current and former military personnel who came into contact with these ships should seek immediate medical attention in order to detect possible health consequences associated with asbestos exposure.