Lt. (jg) Harold L. Low MC USN

Birth date: December 15, 1918, Wichita, Kansas
Education: Riverside Elementary
Horace Mann Intermediate,
North High School,
Wichita University, 1940.
In the fall of 1940, I entered the University of Kansas Medical School.

The Navy started a program for medical students so I was commissioned an Ensign H-V(P) USNR on May 13, 1942.

On May 11, 1943, the Navy put medical students on active status as U12 (S) USNR until graduation, January 31, 1944.

May 3, 1943, I went to Great Lakes, Illinois, to take the examination for Regular Navy Medical Officers and I passed.

When I received my M.D. degree from the University of Kansas Medical School, I was commissioned on January 31, 1944: Lt. (jg) Harold L. Low MC USN, an acting assistant surgeon. I was assigned to Farragut Naval Hospital, Farragut, Idaho, to serve an internship starting February 14, 1944.

On November 24, 1944 after completing my internship at Farragut, I was ordered as an acting surgeon to report to San Diego, California, to join the USS Hinsdale (APA-120). The Hinsdale was an Attack Transport 455 feet 3 inches long and there were 26 assault landing craft aboard.

As a flagship, we departed from San Francisco, November 30, 1944, for Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii. The 25th Marines 4th Division loaded with 74 officers and 1,123 men with assault equipment at Maui. Rehearsals for invasion were held.

We stopped at Saipan, joined the Armada of 485 ships, 800 vessels and 111,308 men and headed for Iwo Jima. Iwo Jima (Sulphur Island) is about two and one half miles wide and five miles long.

D-DAY IWO JIMA -- February 19, 1945

I went in with the 7th Wave of Marines to Yellow Beach. Aboard our LCVP were two other doctors and at least eight medical corpsmen.

Under heavy Japanese fire, we treated injured on the beach. That night we treated casualties by flashlight under blankets on the beach. We treated shock causalities with I.V. blood plasma.

Back on the Hinsdale under continuous fire from shore, we treated casualties for days. We doctors were also transferred to several other ships in the area to help out where we were needed.

In 36 days, 6,381 Americans were killed, 19,217 injured and approximately 20,000 Japanese were killed.

On February 27, we departed Iwo Jima for Saipan, then to Guam where casualties were transferred.

On March 9, at Tanapag Harbor, we received 91 officers and 1,319 men of the Support Group RCT #2 of the Second Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force.

Rehearsals for the Okinawa Invasions were held until March 27 when we joined the Task Group 51.2. The Okinawa Armada contained 1,213 ships and over a half million men.

D-DAY OKINAWA -- April 1, 1945

At 0600, a low flying Kamikaze hit the Hinsdale near the water line making a big hole, tearing into the engine room, exploding the boilers, scalding the engine room crew and wrecking the evaporators.

Under heavy fire and Kamikaze attacks the Hinsdale was dead in the water, dangerously listing at 13 degrees, with no power, no communications and lighting was by flashlight.

Casualties were treated on the decks (floors). Fifteen men were killed. Forty men were injured or missing.

I was ordered with the live, seriously burned men, to a tug where there were lights and water so they could be treated until they expired or were transferred to a hospital ship.

Back on the Hinsdale, the flag was transferred to the USS Pickens. We were then towed to Kerama Retto Bay for emergency repairs to close the holes in the side of the ship.

On March 19, one month after the invasion of Okinawa, the casualties were 34,000 ground troops and 7,700 Navy. The Okinawa invasion cost 7,000 American lives.

On April 14, still under Kamikaze attacks, we were towed to Ulithi.

April 23, 1945, the first Ulithi repair crew came aboard to check the damage and they informed us there were still live bombs on the Kamikaze. Another crew came aboard and removed the bombs.

May 25, 1945, the Hinsdale left under her own power for the United States for extensive repairs. The evaporators were still out. Showers and laundry were by salt water. The sailors tied their clothes to ropes and pulled them behind the ship.

On reaching Hawaii on June 5, 1945, most of the doctors left the Hinsdale which sailed for the U.S. I was assigned to the USN Hospital at Aeia Heights #10, T.H.

After volunteering to go out for the invasion of Japan, I left Hawaii July 24, 1945, aboard the USS LST-1142 as a passenger.

On August 6, 1945, the atomic bombs were dropped on Japan and World War II was over.

When the LST reached Guam, I was reassigned on July 14, 1945 to the 94th Naval Construction Battalion; on August 25, 1945, to the 13th Naval Construction Battalion; on November 16, 1945, to the 56th Naval Construction Battalion; on November 24, 1945, to the 144th Naval Construction Battalion; on January 21, 1946 to the U.S. Naval Supply Center.

May 17, 1946 I was relieved at the Supply Center and ordered to San Francisco. I was ordered on June 4, 1946 from San Francisco to Great Lakes, Illinois.

On June 7, 1946 from the United States Naval Station at Great Lakes, Illinois, I was ordered to the USN Recruiting Office at the U.S. Courthouse in Kansas City, Missouri.

In October 1946, I received an additional assignment as Assistant Recruiting Officer and Acting Assistant Quartermaster for the U.S. Marine Recruiting Office in Kansas City, Missouri.

In April 1947, at the Great Lakes Naval Station at Great Lakes, Illinois, with 30 days leave, I was relieved from the United States Navy.

I entered solo private practice of medicine in Wichita, Kansas, and retired in February 1986.

I will always have the greatest admiration and respect for the young men of World War II who served with me in the United States Navy and the Marine Corp.

Harold L. Low, M.D.
6550 E. 45th St., N., Apt 125
Wichita, Kansas 67266

Dr. Low passed away on Monday, 19 February 2007.