Albert Roy "Jake" Lowe never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.
He was born on July 7, 1917 in Nebraska -- 7th hour of the day, the 7th day of the week, the 7th day of the month and the 7th month of the year. His parents were both born in Kentucky. One of his direct ancestors was an aunt of famed frontiersman Daniel Boone. He also had ancestors who fought in the American Revolution, the War of 1812, and the Civil War.
His father worked as a railroad section hand and later as a coal miner. His mother ran her own beauty shop. Jake had two older brothers, three younger brothers, and two younger sisters. An older brother and two younger brothers served in the army during World War 2. His youngest brother was in the army during the Korean War conflict. Three siblings died in infancy. By 1940 Jake had completed eight years of education. He worked as a coal car brakeman while living at home. He also worked as a miner and was one of the best amateur baseball pitchers in the country, having won a 1941 American Baseball Congress Medal from playing in the National Amateur Baseball Championship games.
On September 27, 1941 he married Daskum Combs Lowe, whom he knew from grade school,. They had one daughter.
He gave up the chance to sign a major league baseball contract and enlisted in the army on June 27, 1942. After boot camp he was assigned to train other troops, which he did for more than a year. He arrived in England in January 1944 as a replacement with the rank of sergeant. In June 1944, he became the squad leader of the 1st Rifle Platoon in Company G, 2nd Battalion, 359th Infantry Regiment, 90th Infantry Division, four days after D-Day. He was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry for actions on July 4, 1944.
His Silver Star citation said:
“On 4 July 1944 in the vicinity of Suzanne, France, Sgt. Lowe, advancing with other members of his company, encountered a defended enemy Command Post. He, with two other members of his company, moving out in advance of their platoon, rapidly charged through the enemy position, killing one officer and six other members of the garrison; capturing one officer and twenty-three others, seven machine guns, three machine pistols, eight rifles and five pistols; rioting the garrison and rapidly taking the position.”
On July 25 he was promoted to tech sergeant.
By mid-September the 90th Infantry Division was working on taking Metz from the Germans. Sgt. Lowe's unit was part of a September 16, 1944 attack that encountered heavy German mortar and automatic weapons fire. The Americans suffered 132 casualties for their futile efforts. Sgt. Lowe died instantly from a wound to the neck.
Apart from the Silver Star, Sgt. Lowe was also awarded a Bronze Star and the French Croix de Guerre with Bronze Star.
His grave is at Eaglewood Cemetery in Hazard, Kentucky. After his death, his widow remarried and died in 2005.
His daughter Waukesha, who has no memory of her father, wrote a touching tribute here.
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