WWII destroyer USS Laffey returns home after repairs

In January, World War II destroyer USS Laffey, nicknamed “The Ship That Would Not die,” returned to its home at the Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum in South Carolina. It was moved more than two years ago to a dry dock so its hull could be repaired at a cost of about $9 million.

“Welcome home Laffey, we are excited to have her back where she belongs and now preparations will begin to get her open for the public once again,” Waring Hills posted on the museum’s blog.

The Laffey (DD-724) actually was named for the first Laffey (DD-459), sunk at the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal in November 1942. Both ships were named in honor of Seaman Bartlett Laffey, a Civil War Medal of Honor recipient.

The second Laffey was built as an Allen M. Sumner-class destroyer by Bath Iron Works (Maine). Commissioned Feb. 8, 1944, Laffey supported the D-Day landings at Normandy on June 6, 1944. Late that summer, Laffey transferred to the Pacific Theater to join the US offensive against Japan.

According to the museum website, while operating off Okinawa on April 16, 1945, Laffey was attacked by 22 Japanese bombers and kamikaze (suicide) aircraft. Five kamikazes and three bombs struck her, and two bombs scored near misses to kill 31 and wound 71 of the 336-man crew. Laffey shot down 11 of the attacking aircraft and saved the damaged ship. Laffey‘s heroic crew earned her the nickname: “The Ship That Would Not Die.” Laffey was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation and earned five battle stars for service during World War II.

The recent renovation was paid for with a state loan, which the museum plans to repay with operating revenues. The museum plans to hold a celebration this spring when Laffey is ready to be open to the public.

Visit the Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum website for more photos and further updates: www.patriotspoint.org.

 

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