James Low was born in New York, NY. He was working at General Electric in Syracuse, NY before enlisting in the military. During his service period, he went to Pusan and was stationed near the 38th parallel from April 1953 to January 1954. He served in the 21st Battalion, AAA AW BN with the 25th Infantry Division as a Private, and had earned Sergeant First Class by the time of his discharge from the military. While in Korea, James Low was a Platoon Sergeant and received multiple awards for his commitments during the war including Good Conduct, American Defense, Korean War, United Nations, Korean Service, and the New York State Star.
Truman's Executive Order 9981: Desegregation of the Military
Racial tension grew after the Executive Order 9981 was issued. When James Low was in the US National Guard, he saw a confrontation between Southern soldiers and African American soldiers from Harlem, New York. Racism still existed for African Americans on the home front during the 1950s. Since James Low went to an integrated school, his beliefs were different than the Southern soldiers that were stationed with him.
Contemporary Korea and a Message to Future Generations
James Low hopes that future generations are able to experience one democratic Korea. He stresses the importance that future generations understand the Korean War was fought against three Communist countries: North Korea, China, and Russia. James Low believes that the Korean war helped to impede any further advancement of Russian Communism.
Begging to Join the US Army
James Low wanted to join the US Army after he graduated high school because he wanted to do his part just like everyone else did during WWII. There was a group of James Low's friends that went to volunteer month after month until there was a spot open. Finally, in February 1951, he was accepted into the Army, but had to wait until he was 18 years old to sign the paperwork because his mom refused to give permission to his 17 year-old son.
Army Gunner with Old WWII Weapons
James Low applied to a school in Texas as a radar repairman, but he was not taken into the program. Instead, he was trained as a 50 caliber machine gunner. Learning to get along with a variety of people, traveling, and training on his gun were the skills he learned. The anti-aircraft weapon that James Low used was from WWII, so soldiers couldn't shoot down planes and ammunition often didn't work.