Jan-Feb-March 2009
Courtesy of Bob Wampler




                           Dedicated to those who served in Battle…and those that Preserve in Peace


January-February-March                              www.laffey.org                                                                   2009



Dit-Dit-Dit   Dah-Dah-Dah   Dit-Dit-Dit

S O S     S O S     S O S


New Year President’s Message

Happy New Year to All Hands.

We hope 2009 is happier than 2008.

I have been sending regular e-mails to those association members who have provided me with their e-mail addresses concerning the condition of our ship. For those of you who are unaware of what has been occurring, our ship has been taking on water since the first of December. Actually, she had some leaks in October that were discovered during our reunion. These leaks were patched and things were fine until the first of December.

On December 1, 2008, it was determined that she was riding lower in the water. Upon inspection by Patriots Point personnel, 5 feet of water was found in the forward engineering spaces. Divers were sent over the side and they discovered holes in the bottom near the keel under the #2 boiler in the forward fire room. She was taking on 2,000 gallons per hour. Patriots Point had EPA trucks come in and haul away the contaminated water from the bilges. The divers installed epoxy patches and as of this writing (Jan 2) they are still holding.

General Tant had a hull survey done. Most of the weak steel is under the forward fire room. They need to make the compartments water tight in order to be approved by the Coast Guard to haul her upriver to the yards for repair. Now the bad news, the cost to repair her will be 6-7 million dollars. The other option is $3 million to sink the Laffey off shore as a reef. I really don’t think we are thinking about option two. 

When the December leaks were discovered General Tant called me and told me that I should see what was happening. I called John Hudak (Eng. Officer) and Don Watson (First Lt.). We headed for Charleston and arrived in Mt. Pleasant about 7:00AM. We were joined there by Joe Luque, a regular work party member and Charlie Hall, PR man from Patriots Point. After breakfast at a diner we proceeded to Patriots Point. Charlie took us to his office and showed us the video taken by the diver which showed the water pouring in through 3 holes. The water was flaking pieces of rust off each hole as it rushed into the ship. It was not an easy video to watch.

We then went to the ship. Looking at her as we walked down the pier was very difficult. There were tanker trucks on the pier pumping the water from the ship. There was also a boat over the side with divers going under the keel and putting on the patches. It made you sick. We kept our thoughts to ourselves. To me it was like visiting a sick loved one in the hospital.

We went down into the forward fire room and were shown where the water was coming in. The workers looked very grim. It was a very somber mood. They were afraid that the bottom was going to give way and suck the diver right through the hole. Luckily, it didn’t and the patches were applied and the water flow was stopped.

We spent the night at the Quality Inn & Suites and went back to the ship on Saturday. We spoke with the Patriots Point workers who were on a 24 hour watch. We thanked them for all that they were doing. They really were working as hard as we would have: They are truly Laffey Sailors.

General Tant has been in contact with me through the entire ordeal. The main problem is getting the money to make the repairs. Six million is a lot of money. I contacted the board of directors and we voted to cash in our emergency CD’s and sent $10,000 from the association to start the fund drive. As of this date we have collected over $16,500. Sadly, this is a drop in the bucket. What we need is a big benefactor to step up to the plate.

You would not believe the response from sailors from all over the country. The word has spread and the donations have been coming in at a surprising rate. The USS Rich and USS Sumner have come through with donations as have many more associations. 

S.C. Rep. John Smith, grandson of Lt. Paul Smith of WWII crew, is searching for some big investors. I certainly hope he can come through. I have been in contact with Tin Can Sailors. Terry Miller, president of TCS, has agreed to put notices in their next newsletter and on the website. Unfortunately, they too are having money problems with the loss of membership.

I also sent a letter to Admiral Charles Hamilton of NAVSEA and pretty much begged for help. General Hugh Tant also sent him a letter asking for some funds. I wrote a letter and asked Hugh to read it to the board of trustees at Patriots Point to look at this as saving a very important piece of history and not look at it with their wallets. 

Hoot Gibson of the USS Rich and a member of our association has a basketful of politicians’ names and is contacting them now. He has also visited the ship and kept an eye on the progress. Way to go Hoot.

What we all need to do is contact any politicians or corporations that you can and explain the seriousness of the problem. We need our ship saved to continue to educate the young people of this country about her history and the history of our great nation.

Keep the faith. Don’t give up!!!!!

Sonny Walker



President Sonny Walker has asked that we all consider making a donation to the “Save the Laffey Fund”. We recognize that our contributions to this fund will not be sufficient to cover the costs involved in this attempt to preserve the USS Laffey. However, what the contributions will do is display to all influential parties the devotion and love of ship that this association and its members have towards DD-724. They should be directed as follows:

The checks should be made out to:
Patriots Point Development Authority
with the special notation "FOR SAVE THE LAFFEY FUND" This will keep the donations out of their general fund and only used for saving the Laffey.

Mail checks to:
Patriots Point Development Authority
40 Patriots Point Road
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464
Attn: CFO, Save the Laffey Fund

Special Note from Sonny: The donations have begun to arrive already. Our association has sent $10,000.00 to get the ball rolling along with personal contributions by our members. We certainly need the help. Our work party groups have really worked hard to get her in the shape she is in today. We would hate to see her lost. Anything you can do to help would be greatly appreciated.



Two weeks ago my phone rang. I was glad to hear from a shipmate but what he had to say left me quite disturbed. I was told of a move afoot at Patriots Point which, under new management, would repair the Laffey hull, or cut her up for scrap or have her towed to sea and used as a target. Strong sad words for a fighting ship when that sort of fate hangs in the balance. A possible sad ending after so many years, accomplishments and lives.

Where do we, the Laffey Association with all of our emotional attachment turn for help? I’ll list some here without a true understanding of their resources or commitments:

1.    HINAS (Historic Naval Ships of North America)
2.    U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation
3.    Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum
4.    Tin Can Sailors Association
5.    Destroyer Escort Sailor Association
6.    USS Laffey Association
7.    Dept. of Defense , U.S. Naval Historical and Public Relations Sections.


I hear of so many philanthropic organizations and wonder just how or where one would begin to petition assistance. Probably a more realistic phrase would be “Beg for Help”.

a. The Ford Foundation
b. The Pew Memorial Trust
c. The William Penn Foundation
d. The National Historic Trust
e. The Rockefeller Foundation

I think of the millions donated annually to National Public Radio and T.V. by corporations such as E.I. Dupont, Sun Chemical, Mobil Oil, etc. How do we get a few million diverted to save a national treasure only in our eyes and hearts? A national “Save the Laffey” campaign is simply too large an undertaking for the likes of our small association. We need help in a big hurry to save the Laffey if in fact she can be saved from the torch or some gunners cross-hairs.

We need to begin with copies of the marine or maritime engineering studies so we can better understand the hull damage caused by electrolysis over the years alongside the submarine. If she is beyond salvage someone has to tell us and explain why. It won’t be easy to swallow, bad news never is, but, we do need facts based on something other than a “bottom line” assessment predicated on profit and loss evaluation from Patriots Point and a state of South Carolina budget report.

Can Patriots Point, the state of South Carolina and the rest of the United States live on without the USS Laffey as a museum? Sure they can. Can we, the Laffey Association, join the ranks of all the other destroyer associations that do not have a ship to come home to? We may have to, but I for one sure as hell won’t like it. I’ve waited too long to introduce my grandchildren to a fighting lady that I love dearly. I’d hate to have to do it with only pictures and words.

As I read and re-read these notes, a thought continues to come forward in my mind. Just what are the terms and conditions covering the Laffey’s transfer from the Navy to the state of South Carolina? What responsibility did the state assume and for how long? If the state is responsible for total upkeep including keeping her afloat then why not a class action suit brought by any and every ex-destroyer sailor willing to sign on. Can we locate a legal firm willing to work pro bono for such a cause? Could we convince the town of Mt. Pleasant and the city of Charleston to help us help them with the tourist trade that seems to be so much a part of the local economy?

Since her arrival at Patriots Point the Laffey was looked upon as an asset. Now it seems after a year or two of economic downturn she’s a liability and this association is being told that her upkeep and continued presence at Patriots point becomes mainly our responsibility. I for one have trouble signing on to that thinking. We as an association have a lot of thinking to do. Our actions have to speak for us. Words about what used to be won’t do it this time. If sheer emotion for a gallant ship was all that was needed to save her we would be home free. This all boils down to a dollar problem. I don’t like the term “bottom line” but we’ve got a bad one looking us right in the eye.

There was a time when Patriots Point was a cash cow for the state sitting there on the Cooper River. During that time we saw a constant flow of politicians, representatives visiting and being entertained. Where are these people now after a bad investment and an even worse storm turned off the money tap? Where are all of these people now that we need them? Just how aware is Columbia of specific physical problems relating to the Laffey and where are all the glad hands that pledged so much ready support?

I look forward to seeing lots of you at the reunion at Valley Forge this year. More importantly, I look forward to seeing all of you in a show of support at Patriots Point in 1995. That’s fifty years to celebrate. Get involved, get mad, stay mad and make it count. The Japs, in 1945, tried to take her away from us. They couldn’t do it then so don’t let the accountants do it now.

Don Vorgity

Ladies and Gentlemen, this letter was dated April 28, 1994.

Sounds familiar doesn’t it? I hope it comes out the same way this time.

Sonny Walker  - January 2, 2009



The following letter was sent by Hugh Tant and is printed for your review and benefit:

Dear Representative James Smith,

We are sending you an update on the USS Laffey, DD 724 (known in naval terms as ex-Laffey) to include the current unbudgeted costs we have incurred to date based on the sixty-four year old ship's fragile condition (see attachment).  Also sending facts on what it will cost to repair or deassess this famous warship and National Historic Landmark.

The three incidents where the Laffey recently took on water have cost us $231,293 to date and are rising.  This includes some $32,130 in regular labor expenses, which are considered opportunity costs caused by our necessary diversion of our employees from other important projects to work on the Laffey.  (Note: We greatly appreciate, but have only received $16,280 in donations mainly from the Laffey Association which are not reflected in the attached report.)

Some Very Hard Facts to Swallow: Current estimates from the official hull survey reflect that it will cost some $6-$7 million to dry dock the Laffey and restore her to good health.  It will cost roughly $3 million to respectfully sink her at a federal offshore disposal site. Without a champion both options are financially unbearable.  

Very respectfully,


Hugh B. Tant, III
Brigadier General, USA, (Ret.)
Executive Director

Patriots Point Development Authority
Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum
40 Patriots Point Road
Mt Pleasant, SC 29464

843-881-5920 (office)

EDITOR’S NOTE: The narrative of events furnished to Representative James Smith is provided to all readers as follows: 

December 30, 2008




For context purposes, the following summary of dry dock repairs conducted in 1995 is provided.  In 1994, ex-LAFFEY sank at the pier while moored outboard of the CLAMAGORE on the east side of the pier across from the YORKTOWN.  The LAFFEY was sent to Detyens Shipyard for dry dock repairs in early 1995.

The decision was made to hydro blast the hull, and install a ¼ inch steel “doubler” plate over the entire underwater hull.  The original holes in the hull were never repaired by cutting them out and welding in inserts.  In fact, the holes were made larger by the blasting process and then plated over with the doubler.  One observer, on the scene during the repairs, remembers counting 87 holes in the original hull.  Somewhere in the process, according to the final invoice, the scope of work was amended to install the doubler over approximately 81% of the underwater hull; leaving about 19% of the original hull not doubled.  The total cost of this repair was about $600,000.

On October 7th, staff personnel noticed that LAFFEY was listing to port and began an investigation into the cause of the problem.  It was discovered that a port side, aft compartment (fuel oil or ballast tank C-4F) had flooded.  The space was dewatered and three holes discovered in the original hull.  In the process of repairing those holes by welding patches over them from the inside, two more holes were discovered and similarly repaired.  Further investigation revealed that this area of the hull had been “doubled” when the ship was in dry dock in early 1995.  One quarter inch steel plate was welded over the top of the original hull.  Since the holes that we repaired were in the original hull, it must be assumed that the doubler hull plate also has holes in it, either in the plate or in the welds holding the plates.  Water is now between the doubler and the original hull, and is leaking into the ship through the original holes that were never repaired in dry dock.  The original holes in this compartment have now been plated over from the inside, but no action was taken to identify the leak and repair the hole(s) in the doubler.  This would require extensive diving services which were determined to be “not critically needed” at this time.  During this incident, we pumped approximately 4,600 gallons out of compartment C-4F.  The compartment has remained watertight to date.

After this incident, we began a comprehensive program to repair as many of the original holes in the hull as we could by locating them from the inside of the hull plate and patching them with welded patches.  We completed approximately 74 of these patches, mainly in the aft end of the ship.  We know that there are many additional, new holes in the original hull that have corroded through since the dry docking.  This leaves at least 13 other holes from the 87 holes thought to exist in the original hull when the doubler was installed, and many more that have corroded through since then.  We have completed the area around the stern of the ship, approximately 1/3 of the shell plating.  This effort was halted by the onset of another flooding crisis.

On December 1st, staff noticed LAFFEY was sitting low in the water and began investigating.  We found the four main engineering spaces (B-1 thru B-4) to be flooded with about 5 feet of water at the deepest point above the keel.  Dewatering was begun as we continued to look for the source of the flooding.  Late in the evening of December 3rd, staff personnel discovered that the water was coming in through a “hole” under # 2 boiler in #1 Fire room (compartment B-1).  Divers were called from Eason Diving and they began an underwater investigation on the morning of Dec 4th.  Divers discovered a crack in the hull plate that appeared to originate in a weld seam where one of the doubler plates had been attached to the original hull.  The crack was about 12 inches long and ¼ inch wide at the widest point.  Water was flooding into the space at approximately 2,000 gal/hr.  Divers temporarily repaired the crack using Top Coat – an underwater epoxy putty substance that hardens and provides a temporary seal.  Approximately 90,000 gallons was removed from the ship in this incident by either pumping clean sea water into the harbor or contaminated water into trucks from Moran Environmental Services.  The temporary patches are still holding as of this date.  From Dec 1st until the present, due to the seemingly fragile nature of the ship’s hull, we have kept a continuous crew on the ship to provide immediate response to any further flooding.

On December 11th, flooding alarms sounded and the crew was summoned to the engineering spaces again due to high water in the bilges.  Investigation showed that more flooding was occurring under the same boiler as the Dec 1st incident.  Our first assumption was that the patch had failed, however, further investigation by divers revealed that three additional holes had opened to the sea.  These holes were patched by the divers using Top Coat.  While the divers were on site, we asked them to take some hull thickness readings.  The readings were non-conclusive because they were isolated to the area of the holes, but they did conclude that this was in an area where the original steel was ½ inch thick.  The divers also confirmed that this area, where the holes and crack are, was not doubled.  So, it is presumed that this area is part of the 19% of the hull that was not doubled in the dry docking.  Approximately 125,000 gallons were dewatered during this incident.

The approximate related costs obligated in 2008 are:

Moran Environmental Services (for pumping contaminated water and boom)                 $86,465
Eason Diving Services (diving, underwater investigation, temporary repairs)                    $8,088
Improvements to electronic monitoring system for flooding                                                $1,000
Structural Inspection quick look by Admiralty Marine Surveying                                          $1,725
Marine Survey and Shipyard Specs by Ocean Technical Services                                  $24,700
Ship Movement Study by Ocean Technical Services                                                       $19,300                                          
Transworld (emergency cathodic protection system)                                                        $2,490                                                       
Thomas and Hutton engineering (estimate for survey to determine flex)                           $2,000
Abate and Insulate (for asbestos clean-up)                                                                       $19,745                                                                                                 
S&ME, Inc. (estimate for air quality monitoring and testing)                                                $6,300 
Miscellaneous supplies (lighting, pumps, etc.)                                                                    $5,663
Labor – overtime (estimate)                                                                                               $21,687
Labor – regular time (estimate)                                                                                          $32,130







Here’s our next “prepared statement”……Monday, December 15th, divers put a second layer of epoxy over the rusted portion of the Laffey’s hull.  This gave added strength to the effected area.  Currently all patches are holding and there is no water in the ship.  Staff members are visually and electronically monitoring the situation onboard the ship 24 hours a day in the event water again enters the ship. 

We are contracting for a more complete and thorough marine survey which will give us a comprehensive assessment of the condition of the ship and preparatory work needed before she is moved.

We will be working closely with the Coast Guard’s Waterways Management to determine what preparations would become necessary before the ship could be moved safely.  Patriots Point Development Authority Board members are working the Executive Director, General Hugh Tant and his management team to determine the next steps in handling this situation.

The General is working up a “Command Briefing” which is critical to our ability to present reality to multi news media and state and federal governmental leaders regarding who we are, what we represent, our challenges and how those being briefed may help.  That’s all we have today Sonny…..I’ll do a better job of keeping you updated! 

Charlie Hall Jr.

Chief Master Sergeant USAFR (Ret)


The following communiqué to Sonny was sent on December 31st, 2008:


She definitely has a chance, but we have to make her compartments water-tight.  We have a long list of other stuff we are doing right now based on what the hull surveyor said we have to do no matter what (like removal of the friable asbestos, PCB's, fuel, etc..  Slowly, steadily we are doing those things required.  We need a great champion.  Today I have written every SC state official in the Charleston delegation and the Governor and some key senators in the state.  Also both federal Senators (Graham and DeMint) from the state.  Hope you will agree we are trying.  I hope Rep. Smith will run with the ball and help us get a bunch of folks onboard.  I believe I need to write NAVSEA.  Have you heard anything from Rear Adm Hamilton?  He hasn't said boo to us.

Have a safe and prosperous new year,

God bless always,



...A Few Reasons We Are So Proud!

13th Naval District CURTIS HIGH SCHOOL


This is a simple reminder that “Grandparents” wear their hearts, and their pride, on their sleeve.



Cadet CPO Aiden Woods is currently in his 3rd year of NJROTC as a Junior at Curtis High School In University Place, WA. This program, under the command of Marine Lt. Col. David L. Smith and PO1 George A Livermore, has continued to remain one of the top in the country.

C/CPO Woods completed a 5 month extensive training program, along with his 3.7 GPA, perfect PT scores, and company recommendation, which allowed him to represent the 13th Naval District at the prestigious Hawaiian Leadership Academy in Honolulu, HI. During this 10 day program ran by (our beloved Jarhead) Marines at Pearl Harbor, C/CPO Aiden Woods placed 2nd in Academics, 5th in Physical Training, and his platoon (of which he was the Platoon Leader) 1st in the Regatta (on a windless day). These accomplishments led to his being chosen “Leader of Troops” in their final Graduation Review, and placed him 1st Overall in accumulated points. Out of the 150 cadets attending the HLA, most were JROTC Executive and Commanding Officers. There was quite the chagrin being led by one of the only Cadet/ Chief Petty Officers attending.

Of all the events he participated in, the most rewarding was his tour of Pearl Harbor, and seeing the USS Arizona Memorial and the USS Missouri. “ It really brought home what this is all about.”

His present goals are to utilize the knowledge he is obtaining and apply it to all aspects of his life. Patriotism, Leadership, Honor, and Integrity are the “watch” words of his day. His hopes are to attend one of the Military Academies, or qualify for a ROTC Scholarship at possibly Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University or MIT.

Although aware a Military career is difficult and demanding, Cadet Woods will do his best to persevere for the honor of his Family, God, and Country.

(Cadet Woods is a member of the USS Laffey Association and attended  the 2006 reunion in Charleston. He is the son of Sabin (an Army Redleg, but no one is perfect) and Kim Woods of Lakewood, WA and the proud Grandson of Joe and Dinah Folino)



The only Sumner class tin can is sinking.

The USS LAFFEY DD-724 fought at Normandy, Iwo Jima, Philippines and took on 22 kamikazes in 80 minutes at Okinawa. She survived the Korean War and 25 more years of Cold War sailing. She has now sprung some very bad leaks and is need of dry dock service.

As you know the LAFFEY is based at Patriots Point Naval Museum in Charleston, SC. She has been there since 1981.

She is the last of her kind and is taking on water at the rate of 2000 gallons per hour. The pumps are handling it right now but we need your help. To pull her, dredge to get her out of her mooring, tow her up river to the dry dock and repair the bottom will cost in the area of 3 million dollars.

Many of you have visited our ship and enjoyed the memories that she brought you. Please do what you can to help preserve this great ship so others can share the experiences that you had aboard your tin can.

Patriots Point Development Authority
40 Patriots Point Road
Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
Attn: C.F.O./Save the Laffey Fund

Thanks for your help.

Sonny Walker, President


Hi Sonny,

I am the Manager for the Destroyer Archive on the Internet called NavSource.org and Webmaster for the USS Allen M. Sumner (DD-692). In my work with NavSource, I deal with HTC Ron Reeves (Ret.) who sent me a copy of your message regarding the current problems with the Laffey.

As you may know, the Sumner had her reunion this year in Charleston and all our gang were thrilled to go aboard and remember our days at sea.  At our annual meeting we donated $500 to the upkeep of the Laffey.

I would like to add a brief update and call for funds to both of the websites to help in your fund raising efforts. In that light could you write me a brief note that would give the current status of the Laffey and the "how" of contributing to the "cause."

I would also like to pass along a Sumner Bravo Zulu to all of you who have worked so hard to preserve and display a proud part of America's history.

Fair winds & following seas,

Fred Willshaw
Manager, NavSource Destroyer Archive
Webmaster, USS Allen M. Sumner (DD-692)
Member, Tin Can Sailors Inc.


The current emergency situation onboard the USS Laffey requires immediate action on the part of the membership of our association.

Sonny Walker has been attempting to maintain an e-mail address data base once he has obtained your address information.

However, the recent events have shown that we must be in a better position to communicate such important information as has been occurring during the past several weeks.

For those who have been receiving our e-mail follow-ups, nothing needs to be done unless you have a different e-mail address that you would prefer we use.

For those members who are online and who have not been getting our e-mail updates, please take a few minutes and inform Sonny Walker of your e-mail address. Send a short communiqué to the following address: soncher724@comcast.net

It is imperative that we have your correct current e-mail address so that we can better provide service and communications when necessary.

Bob Wampler, Editor Laffey News



All Hands:

We have a shipmate injured and he needs to have a card or letter sent to him to cheer him up.

Stan Ketron, plank owner and survivor of Okinawa, has ended up in a nursing home after falling and fracturing his pelvic bone and breaking one of his arms. While not life threatening at this point, it isn't the best of circumstances for him.

I know he would appreciate a call or a card by any of his shipmates. Let's let Stan know that we don't forget our old shipmates.

His address:

Stan Ketron, Room 122
Brookhaven Manor
2035 Stonebrook Place
, TN 37660

Phone: 423-246-8934


My life has been made "richer" just knowing that I had a little part in keeping our ship at the ready.....The Association, and the brotherhood that I experienced these past 22 years will always be some of the most important days of my life....God Bless you all and Godspeed to all those that follow.

......." I will never abandon ship as long as a gun will fire"......nor will I ever rest as long as a piece of bare metal is exposed...... Let the paint brigade begin…..a chill and a thrill goes up the back of my neck every time I see the old girl in all her glory, knowing that she represents the blood sweat and tears of hundreds of men who went before me. 

I love the old girl, as I love each and every one of you.

God Bless each of youJoe Folino


During this time of great concern for the survival of the USS Laffey, it seems appropriate to thank all members who have given so much of themselves to maintain the “old girl” at Patriots Point.

If I was to start with Sonny, Don, Dave, John, etc. I would eventually have to print a rather lengthy roster of those who have continually shown up in the past to do the “grunt work” needed to keep the Laffey in the great above the waterline appearance many have witnessed over the years.

The Laffey is a fine ship: She is proud, historic, and loved by ever so many sailors who served on her in the past and by those who visit her today. It seems a tragedy that the USS Laffey must now endure a potentially fateful and fatal experience.

No matter what the outcome of the current events, the USS Laffey, DD-724, shall forever remain in our hearts and minds. And to those who have been there for the work parties we all extend a Bravo Zulu for your efforts. Thank you…..Thank you so much for allowing all of us to remain a part of the Laffey well beyond our years on her.

Please think about your service onboard our ship, our “tin can”, our beloved Laffey and take a few moments in prayer so that she might continue to be “The Ship That Would Not Die”.

Bob Wampler – Editor Laffey News


As many of you are aware, the first work party on the Laffey this year was to occur during the week of April 18th through the 25th, 2009. Due to the sad situation that has been unfolding over the past month or so, we would like to ask that you monitor our website, www.laffey.org, for the status of this event. For those of you receiving e-mail updates on the current circumstances, we expect to inform you by e-mail so that you can plan accordingly. For those without home computer access, please visit your local library and ask them to provide access to our website on the library’s computers.



The newsletter you are reading is intended for distribution to active members of the USS Laffey Association (Yearly renewals, lifetime members, surviving spouses, and associate members). Over the years the formal membership roster now maintained by Pete Lacore and the Laffey News mailing data base that I maintain had reached a point where they no longer agreed with each other.

Part of the problem was that for many years the renewal date for active membership was based upon the date of original membership. This created confusion and many members did not know when they should renew their membership. The situation changed in 2008 with January 1 being established as the official renewal date. This policy now continues in 2009.

As Pete and I work to get these data bases up to speed, I ask that any of you who have been receiving the Laffey News without benefit of active membership please contact Pete Lacore at (859)-234-2451. Or, for those who do not recall their last renewal date, please contact Pete as well.

Your cooperation will be greatly appreciated and we thank you in advance for taking the time to help us on this matter.

Bob Wampler - Editor Laffey News


            Confederate Drive, Cynthiana, KY 41031.

            For membership questions please phone              

            Pete at (859)-234-2451.



The following donation dedicated to the Work Party Fund has been received:

Edward H. Pascoe, Associate Member         $10.00

WWII Infantryman and 8 time visitor to the Laffey

The USS Laffey Association extends a thank you to all who send donations. These donations allow us

to continue with the work parties to assure we have the finest looking ship at Patriots Point.




The following shipmates and USS Laffey Association members and their close relatives have been transferred to a better duty station:

Theresa Laurendeau, Associate Member, Age – 90 Former “Rosie the Rivetter” at Bath Iron Works when the Laffey was built.

Please take a moment in silence to honor and reflect upon the memories of those who have passed away.


We have a shipmate who has been active in the association for so many years that “I don’t even know how many”!

He has held numerous positions in our association and has been on the Board of Directors for many years. This man has done a lot of things for this association and we should take the time to thank him for all that he has accomplished.

I came into this association in the mid 90’s and found a legend walking around the ship with no socks. He was usually parked on the pier and carrying donuts every morning to the work party guys.

This person was elected to the presidency of the association twice. I had the good fortune of being his vice president once.

He also took over the operation of our ship’s store and was always involved in something going on with the ship, whether it is getting the association flag made, getting a tree planted, ordering a plaque for the WWII crew, trying to keep Pete and Walt straight or just being himself. He is also the curator of the USS LAFFEY MUSEUM (Philadelphia Division).

We need to thank him for his service to the association and hope he continues to show up at the reunions and maybe a work party or two when the ship gets repaired. I guess you all know that I am talking about our shipmate DON VORGITY.

Thanks Don, we’ll miss you on the board.

Sonny Walker, President

Pearl Harbor to get New Visitor Center
November 06, 2008

Associated Press

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii - Aging, frail survivors of the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor gingerly sifted dirt as they helped to break ground on a new visitor's center for the USS Arizona Memorial.

The current visitor's center - across the harbor from the submerged battleship - is sinking because it was built on reclaimed land, causing water to seep into its basement. Engineers estimate the building will last only a few more years.

The center is where visitors board ferries taking them to the white memorial straddling the sunken hull of the Arizona. It's also where they learn about the attack through exhibits and films, making it vital for conveying the history of the day that launched the United States into World War II.

The National Park Service, which runs the memorial, and the Arizona Memorial Museum Association, which supports it, have spearheaded the effort to build a replacement visitor's center so they can continue to tell the story of Pearl Harbor.

"We must always remember our history. While there were painful lessons learned, it is also the source of our inner strength and our spirit," Senator Inouye said. "We must never allow that torch to flicker out."



Edgar “Sonny” Walker…………….. President
Jim Cox…………………….......Vice President
George Kessler…………………….. Treasurer
Julie Becton………………………… Secretary
Lyle “Pete” Lacore…... Membership Chairman

Board of Directors

Ari Phoutrides……….. Asst. Website Manager
John Langevin
Francis LaSala
Jim Spriggs
John Hudak
Bob Wampler

Website Manager
A. J. Tarquino

Newsletter Staff
Bob Wampler…. Editor and Circulation Manager

Ship's Store

Ships Store - as we have known of it in the past - no longer exists.  In place of maintaining our own inventory
and charging shipping costs, we have made arrangements with KT Creations to provide us with various ship
store items.

Prices will be slightly higher.  However, the additional costs will be offset by (1) pricing will include
shipping and handling costs, (2) KT Creations will refund 12% of sales to the Association,
and (3) we will not have to invest money in maintaining an inventory.

Pricing for some typical items are:

Polo shirts with pocket



Polo shirt with your name on right side




Jacket-Navy blue, 100% nylon, flannel lined, snap front



Jacket with small ship design on back and name on front on right side.




Jacket, with large design on the back of the jacket. Smaller design on the front and name on the front included. Motto of "Ship that Wouldn't Die" on the back too




Sweatshirt-Navy blue, long sleeve pullover




Sweatshirt with name on right side




Ball cap-Navy with gold lettering and ship design
(the photo is $20 hat and of better quality)


$15 and a $20 one

Visit the website at: 
KT Creations  to view the merchandise and order: www.ktcreations.pages.qpg.com

If you are not comfortable ordering off the above website, mail your order by using the order form at a link found at the Laffey website: www.laffey.org



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