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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Greatest Generation

My mom's cousin found this newspaper clipping while going through her recently deceased father's stuff. This is my PawPaw, a proud Navy man. I will just let the article and picture do all the talking.

Visible article text:

Memphian, Praised for Valor
Back from Attu Triumphs
by John Carruth

Above the waters in which no man lives long juts a fortress of rock, its jagged edges sheathed in banks of durable snow, its barren outer walls mercifully hidden by the fogs which creep down the North Pacific. The name is Attu; its flag, the Stars and Stripes.
Durley Lowe, gunner's mate second class on a vessel which did much to make storming of the Jap stronghold successful, went literally within stone's throw of that dismal place and returned recently to his Memphis home to relate in cautious terms the first local eyewitness account of the Attu battle.
Attacked by Submarine
For the day and night he stood watch beside his machinegun post on deck, Petty Officer Lowe was very much aware that his was a precarious perch. There was that submarine attack, for instance. His ship was gliding through the perpetual mist very close to the tugged face of Attu ("I could almost have hit it with a rock") when three enemy subs struck out with three torpedoes in a "spread."
"One submarine surfaced only a half mile away from us. I don't know why...Maybe got yellow and had some idea of surrendering. Anyway, a destroyer blasted him out of the water. We got reports soon after that our destroyers had knocked out the other two."
Asked about the torpedoes, the gunner remarked laconically: "I'd say the closest one was 25 yards away." It was impossible for him to spot the "tin fish" on the way, he said- seas too heavy.
Because the air protection was so efficient, Petty Officer Lowe got a little thrill out of the next blow aimed at his ship. It appears that the Japs sent six bombers to search through the fog for the elusive vessel. United States planes saw them first...
At the height of the grim battle for Attu the gunner had his most enjoyable moment. It came while he was listening over the broadcasting system to the returning commentaries of the pilots then engaged in cutting down the Japs.

"Yellow Meat on Landscape"
Scout planes had reported that Japanese ground troops, caught in the American pincher movement, had loaded five or six barges with mortars and were attempting to knock out American positions from the sea. Then American pilots thundered down, motors, radios and guns wide open.
The Plan of the Day sheet set out as usual on May 11, beginning date of the battle, was another source of grisly amusement. The gunner kept one of the mimeographed pages for a souvenir. After the simple statement: "This is the Day," the paper followed the regular pattern to announce the movies for the night: "Yellow Meat on the Landscape."
The ships captain ("a fighting skipper" the gunner said reverently) was moved to commend the sailors soon after the battle, he declared. So impressed was Petty Officer Lowe that he remembered every word: "Men, I've never seen our operations under any worse conditions, and I've never seen a better job done or a more cheerful and willing crew."
Durley Lowe, son of Mr. and Mrs. J.E. Lowe of 1402 [road name unreadable], has two petty officer brothers. One, Paul Lowe, he saw in New Hebrides (?) last January. The other, Lewis, has just finished a Commando course in San Francisco.

1 comment:

Ashley said...

How neat! I wish I knew more about what my grandfathers did during the war. I didn't even know my stepgrandfather was in WW II until his funeral last summer. Thanks for sharing!