USS Lowe (DE-325)
|Namesake:||Harry James Lowe|
|Builder:||Consolidated Steel Corporation, Orange, Texas|
|Laid down:||24 May 1943|
|Launched:||28 July 1943|
|Commissioned:||22 November 1943|
|Decommissioned:||20 September 1968|
|Reclassified:||DER-325, 28 October 1954|
|Struck:||23 September 1968|
|Fate:||Sold for scrapping 3 September 1969|
|Class and type:||Edsall-class destroyer escort|
|Length:||306 feet (93.27 m)|
|Beam:||36.58 feet (11.15 m)|
|Draft:||10.42 full load feet (3.18 m)|
|Speed:||21 knots (39 km/h)|
|Complement:||8 officers, 201 enlisted|
USS Lowe (DE-325) was an Edsall-class destroyer escort built for the U.S. Navy during World War II. She served in the Atlantic Ocean the Pacific Ocean and provided destroyer escort protection against submarine and air attack for Navy vessels and convoys. Post-war she was converted and served the Navy as a weather ship and then as a radar picket ship.
She was named in honor of Gunner’s Mate Third Class Harry James Lowe, Jr., who was awarded the Navy Cross posthumously for his brave actions in the Solomon Islands. The ship was laid down by Consolidated Steel Corp., Orange, Texas, 24 May 1943; launched 28 July 1943; sponsored by Mrs. Harry J. Lowe, mother; and commissioned 22 November 1943, Comdr. Reginald H. French, USCG, in command.
World War II North Atlantic operations
After a shakedown cruise to Bermuda, Lowe reported for convoy duty 2 February 1944 and departed Charleston, South Carolina, escorting convoy UGS 32 to Casablanca, French Morocco, and back. On her second such assignment, Lowe went into action 20 April when her convoy came under tenacious enemy air attack off the North African coast. Simultaneously, two high speed wakes made directly for the starboard side of the ship. She evaded the torpedoes by a hard right turn which enabled her to escape between the oncoming warheads.
Lowe continued convoy escort service making a total of 12 Atlantic crossings until 5 March 1945 when she joined TG 22.14, an exclusively U.S. Coast Guard “hunter-killer” group, with the specific mission of finding and destroying an enemy submarine operating due east of Newfoundland.
Sinking of German Submarine U-866
While steaming in search of the enemy 18 March 100 miles east of Halifax, Lowe made sonar contact and attacked with two patterns of hedgehogs. The depth charge attacks with those of other ships of the group brought an oil slick and large amounts of debris to the surface. The submarine was still on the bottom the following day when Lowe reestablished sound contact. Postwar investigation verified the destruction of U-866 by this group; Lowe received credit for the kill, and her commanding officer and four other crew members received awards for their part in the action. While serving with task group TG 22.14 3 May, Lowe rescued the crew of the foundered Newfoundland schooner Marion Duffitt and her guns sank the hulk, which was a menace to navigation.
Commencing 6 July, the ship assumed duties as a training vessel at Norfolk, Virginia, departing only to participate in the Navy Day observance at Washington, D.C., 24 October. Departing the Capital 1 November, she offloaded ammunition at Yorktown, Virginia, and 30 December arrived at St. Johns River, Florida, headquarters of the Florida Group, 16th Fleet, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, where she decommissioned 1 May 1946 and entered the Reserve Fleet.
Recommissioned as a Weather Ship
Recommissioned 20 July 1951 as USCGC Lowe (WDE-425), she saw service as a weather ship in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. She decommissioned a second time 1 June 1954 at the Todd Shipyard, Long Beach, California.
Recommissioned as a Radar Picket Ship
With Lt. Comdr. J. R. Bohlken in command, she was recommissioned in the Navy at Long Beach Naval Shipyard after being converted to a radar picket escort vessel. Lowe joined Escort Squadron 5 at Seattle, Washington.
She saw extended duty with the North American Air Defense Command as a unit of the seaward extension of the DEW line, eventually completing 67 tours as a picket vessel. While on station 20 February 1962, she was an emergency rescue link for Lt. Col. John Glenn’s three orbit space mission.
Vietnam Crisis operations
At the disestablishment of the Radar Barrier 30 June 1965, Lowe sailed for the western Pacific and joined the U.S. 7th Fleet 5 August. Taking station off the coast of Vietnam 15 August, she was assigned the task of preventing seaborne infiltration of enemy elements to the south of that country as a part of Operation Market Time. In early September 1965, she returned to her new homeport, Guam, for a period of rest and upkeep. She rejoined task force TF 115 off Vietnam 22 November and resumed “Market Time” surveillance. When not a unit of TF 115, Lowe served as a unit of the Taiwan Patrol Force or as station ship Hong Kong.
This pattern of duty continued until 20 September 1968 when she decommissioned at Guam. Struck 23 September, Lowe began stripping in preparation for being sold for scrapping. She was then sold for scrapping 3 September 1969.
- This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.
- Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships
- NavSource Online: Destroyer Escort Photo Archive - USS Lowe (DE 325)