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Home Town Cresco, IA
Last Address Vallejo, CA
Date of Passing Mar 26, 1955
Location of Interment Buried at Sea, Pacific Ocean
Wall/Plot Coordinates Ashes scattered from the Cruiser Bremerton.
Last Known Activity
Admiral Lowry began his naval career with his appointment to the NavalAcademy, Annapolis, Maryland in 1907. He was graduated in June, 1911. He first served at MareIsland in 1919, when he assumed command of the receiving ship and training station, following Atlantic patrol duty in World War I. His work between the two world wars included assignment to Guam, the Naval College at Newport, Rhode Island, duty on the battleships California and New York, at the University of California as professor of Naval science and tactics, command of the U.S.S. Hale, training work and a Washington tour in the bureau of navigation.
In 1940 he took command of the heavy cruiser, "Minneapolis" at Pearl Harbor, and the ship was the entrance to the harbor standing by to escort a convoy to Manila when the Japanese attacked. During the first year of the war, the "Minneapolis" operated in the southwest Pacific, and rescued 850 of the crew of the Lexington, which was sunk in the battle of the Coral Sea. This action resulted in the Navy Cross award for Admiral Lowry.
He also participated in the battle of Midway, the first landing at Guadalcanal, and the battle of the Eastern Solomons, where the "Minneapolis" towed the torpedoed "Saratoga" from the danger area.
He served briefly on stateside duty in 1942 and was then named commander of the MoroceanSea frontier, with headquarters at Casablanca. He then took command of the landing craft and bases at Salerno, Italy, and in November, 1943, became commander of the eighth Amphibian force.
Under his command the combined United States and British naval forces planned and assaulted the beaches at Anzio in January, 1944. He then commanded the landing in Southern France in August, 1944, and returned to the United States to organize and amphibious group for the invasion of Japan. When the war ended, he was ordered to Germany to serve under General Patton. He was named area commander of MareIsland, October 30, 1947, succeeding Vice Admiral Mahlan D. Tisdale, the first to hold the area command position.
Admiral Lowry was awarded 21 medals, ranging from the highest Navy honor and Navy cross, to six decorations from foreign governments.
He retired from active duty as commander of the MareIsland in March, 1950.
Awarded for Actions During WWII
General Orders: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 311 (February 1943)
Action Date: May 7 & 8, 1942
Company: Commanding Officer
Division: U.S.S. Minneapolis (CA-36)
Citation: The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Captain Frank Jacob Lowry, United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of his profession as Commanding Officer of the Heavy Cruiser U.S.S. MINNEAPOLIS (CA-36), during operations in Coral Sea on 7 and 8 May 1942 . Under Captain Lowry's skillful direction, his ship during this action inflicted considerable damage on the enemy Japanese and rendered vital protection to the aircraft carrier to which it was assigned. Captain Lowry's inspiring leadership and the valiant devotion to duty of his command contributed in large measure to the outstanding success of these vital missions and reflect great credit upon the United States Naval Service.
On Dec 7th she was docked at Pearl Harbor: Battleship Row; forward of the Maryland and Oklahoma
Fate: The California was struck by two torpedoes and one bomb. The first torpedo hit at 8:05 a.m.; the second came moments later. With a gaping hole in the ship, it started capsizing. Despite efforts to bail water from the ship, it sank to the harbor bottom after three days of progressive flooding.
The ship was raised via cofferdams, moved to the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard on April, 1942, with repairs to her cage mainmast and all six 14" forward guns were removed to facilitate her refloating. It took until January, 1944 for the ship's total reconstruction but it was a match for most of the newer US battleships in all but it's main guns (still 14").
An after view of the USS California.
January, 1945, the USS California was hit by a Japanese kamikaze where 44 of her crew died and 155 injured. Battle repairs were made to keep her battle-worthy and on station. She stayed on station until the end of the month and returned to Puget Sound for repairs. She was back on station for the landings at Okinawa and from there until the Japanese surrender in mid-August.
Of historical interest is that after the official end of WWII, the USS California was still on duty and after different assignments in Philippines and other areas in SE Asia, she returned to the US on Dec 7, 1945 - exactly 4 years to the day of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.