USS Laffey DD724 in World War II

DD 724 Shooting



Launched November 21, 1943 Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine
Commissioned February 8, 1944
Decommission March 29, 1975

Now proudly afloat at Patriots Point, Charleston Harbor Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina


DD 724 Fire

DD 724 Fire

DD 724 Underway

DD 724 Anchor

DD 724 Alongside

DD 724 Damage


"Probably no ship has ever survived an attack of the intensity that she experienced" Samuel Eliot Morison, Naval Historian 


Commendations and Battle Ribbons
 USS Laffey (DD 724)

Presidential Unit Citations awarded DD 724


USS Laffey (DD 724) 

Okinawa, Radar Picket Station #1

April 16, 1945




The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION to the




for service as set forth in the following


“For extraordinary heroism in action as a Picket Ship on Radar Picket Station Number One during an attack by approximately thirty enemy Japanese planes, thirty miles northwest of the northern tip of Okinawa, April 16, 1945. Fighting her guns valiantly against waves of hostile suicide planes plunging toward her from all directions, the U.S.S. LAFFEY set up relentless barrages of antiaircraft fire during an extremely heavy and concentrated air attack. Repeatedly finding her targets, she shot down eight enemy planes clear of the ship and damaged six more before they crashed on board. Struck by two bombs, crash-dived by suicide planes and frequently strafed, she withstood the devastating blows unflinchingly and, despite severe damage and heavy casualties, continued to fight effectively until the last plane had been driven off. The courage, superb seamanship and indomitable determination of her officers and men enabled the LAFFEY to defeat the enemy against almost insurmountable odds, and her brilliant performance in this action, reflects the highest credit upon herself and the United States Naval Service.”

For the President,

/s/ James Forrestal
Secretary of the Navy



USS Laffey DD 724 in World War II

History of USS Laffey DD724

The Honored Dead

Action Report of USS Laffey January 2 - 17, 1945

Oral Histories

USS Laffey and a Place Called Okinawa

Former Commanding Officers

Navigational Charts used by the USS Laffey during WWII

Almost Renamed


How the Laffey and Other Sumners Class Ships Were Born

Biff (our mascot for a short time)

Ulithi Atoll (Mogmog may sound more familiar)

Clarence Dargie at the Bath Iron Works 1943

Chronological Narrative Report of Operations Normany 1944

Crew Members 1945

Battered Beyond Belief: The USS Laffey

USS Laffey (DD-724) Wikipedia

Composite Squadron VC94 Brave Pilots

Atom Bomb Tests Bikini Atoll


Historic Videos of USS Laffey

History Channel

History Channel Video Dogfights USS Laffey may be viewed onboard USS Laffey at Patriots Point.  On April 16th, 1945 a small destroyer in the Pacific was attacked by 22 kamikaze planes. The USS Laffey is nicknamed "The Ship That Would Not Die" based on the book written by Captain Julian Becton. This 30 minute documentary shares the stories of men who survived that attack and with it shares a part of history that not many people know about.  Ari Phoutrides, Glen Radder, Jim Spriggs, Lawrence Delewski, and Sonny Walker who were interviewed in this video. See comments on the History Channel documentary



WW II Newscast

Nation Honors it's WWII Heroes

Old black and white video from World War II.  Two minutes into the video, it honors the USS Laffey, Commander Becton, and the 32 men dead or missing from  April 16, 1945, Japanese Kamikaze attacks.


Online Videos of USS Laffey and World War II Pacific Battles


Link and Length

Laffey Teaser Kamikaze

2.11 minutes

WW2: Destroyer USS Laffey DD 459/DD 724

56.44 minutes (.00 - 20.50 minutes USS Laffey DD459 in 1942

20:50 - 56.44 minutes USS Laffey DD724 in 1945)


3.0 minutes

US War Dead Honored on Memorial Day 1945/05/31

7.17 minutes

USS Laffey Survives Kamikaze Crashes April 16, 1945 or

4.44 minutes

WW2: Destroyer USS Laffey DD 459/DD 724

56.44 minutes 

USS LAFFEY  William McClaffery

8.08 minutes

"The Fleet that Came to Stay" Kamikaze attacks off Okinawa 1945

21:41 minutes


 Books on the USS Laffey DD 724

Becton Book

"The Ship That Would Not Die" by F. Julian Becton.

The ship and her men suffered the most intensive Japanese Kamikaze air attack ever hurled on one ship. The reader relives the ship's missions: rescuing downed airmen, her active fighting in the Normandy Invasion; her part in freeing the Philippines and the devastating assault on Iwo Jima." - The Birmingham News 


Hell from Heavens Book

Hell from the Heavens: The Epic Story of the USS Laffey and World War II's Greatest Kamikaze Attack by John Wukovits

On April 16, 1945, the crewmen of the USS Laffey heroically withstood twenty-two kamikaze attacks at Okinawa in what the US Navy called "one of the great sea epics of the war." Using scores of personal interviews with survivors, the memoirs of crew members, and the sailors' wartime correspondence, historian John Wukovits breathes life into this nearly forgotten event and makes the ordeal of the Laffey and her crew a story for the ages.


Frederick Julian Becton Commanding Officer 16 April 1945

Frank Mason:  "Captain. for a moment I thought we would have to abandon ship." 

Cmdr. Becton:  "Mr. Manson, I will not abandon ship as long as a single gun will fire."

FJ Becton

Admiral F. J. Becton  Memorabilia and Photos of USS Laffey DD 724 in World War II

Wikipedia Article

Frederick Julius Becton Commanding Officer WWII



  Photographs WWII  

USS Laffey before Commissioning

Christening of the USS Laffey (DD 724)

Photographs of the Crew and Ship Taken in WWII

  In Harms Way

Hawaiian Fleet Pictures 1945-1946 from Derrill Stein

Photos from the Hawaiian Fleet days from Bill Schmidt

Aftermath of Radar Picket Station 1 Attack

Laffey Battle Damage 



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