July-August-September Newsletter 2008
                           Courtesy of Bob Wampler




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

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July-August-September                                                                                                                      2008




Our summer is whizzing by (as do most days at our age) and the reunion is going to be here before we know it.

It is July 17 and we have about 80 persons paid. It is not looking like another record breaking year for attendees. I suppose the gas prices and airline prices have slowed some of us down in our traveling. I remember when we could pull up to the pump and get a dollar’s worth and drive the whole weekend. Those days are gone forever folks.

Seriously, I am hoping for another good attendance year for the reunion. If you are planning on coming, please get me the check by September 1st as I have to contact the caterers and the bus lines for the tours, etc. to get our fees paid. It looks like our itinerary will be a busy one. We have added a tour to Magnolia Plantation this year and another trip to Bubba Gump’s for lunch.

This, plus our memorial service aboard the ship and our banquet and dance should be a good time for all.

We had a mini work party in June. John Hudak, Dave Harhager, Don Watson and Joe Luque were there and got a lot accomplished. Ray Broll was there for a couple of days with his son and grandson. I showed up the last of June and stayed for 5 days with 3 of my grandsons.

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Dave, Don and Joe painted the entire Forecastle deck and it looked great. It was really hot down there and I know they suffered. Dave and Don had gone home by the time I arrived with the kids. We put the boys under Mount 51 and painted the deck where we couldn’t fit!!!

John and Joe worked down below in the after boiler room. John has made great progress putting in the new walkways. He is hoping to get it open within 3 years. At our fall work party we may begin getting some painting done down below.

The video project (History Channel) being shown all day on the ship has really been the biggest hit with the tourists. I can’t wait for y’all to see this in the flesh. They pack into the “Theatre” in after officers’ quarters to watch. It usually plays to “standing room only”. Sadly, no one has asked for my autograph yet

I have been having some health problems (nothing too serious) and I need a volunteer to take the reunion in 2009 (destination to be announced at the 2008 reunion). I will help out where needed. I think it would be good for the reunion to have some fresh ideas and new blood to add some spark to the next reunion. Let me know if you are interested.

Our next work party will be September 6-13, 2008. Let me know if you can attend. I’ll set you up with some sleeping accommodations.




I met with the new Executive Director of Patriots Point while I was there. His name is Brig. General Hugh Tant, III (U.S. Army Ret.). He is a resident of Mount Pleasant, SC and is really a nice guy. He has visited the ship twice and was really impressed with the way she is being maintained. He thanked us for all that we do and he will continue to work with us and support our efforts to keep the ship looking good. I hope to have him as a guest speaker at the reunion banquet.

I do have to tell everyone that the regular rooms are sold out for the reunion. They have the next grade of rooms for $10.00 more and the suites left. Hurry and book your rooms.

See you at the reunion.



The USS Laffey Association would like to formally acknowledge the receipt of a work party donation from the USS Allen M. Sumner Reunion Association. The Sumner’s 2008 reunion was held in Charleston this past Spring and Joe Gall, who has arranged over twenty years of reunions for USS Allen M. Sumner crew members, had contacted Sonny Walker to inform him of the great time their membership experienced while on board the Laffey. He informed Sonny that a work party donation check would be forwarded: The check arrived and was in the amount of $500.00.  Joe advised Sonny that the donation was being made to keep the “OLD GIRL” alive!

This generous, unsolicited donation speaks volumes about the character of those who proudly served aboard “tin cans” in the past, and I’m certain equally of those serving today. Our “tin cans” were our homes, work stations, and battle stations.  Recall, once more, that sign that hung over the entrance to Gate 5 at the D&S Piers in Norfolk: “Through this gate pass the proudest sailors of the fleet.”

Our heartfelt thanks are extended to the USS Allen M. Sumner Reunion Association and to its



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membership. Your gift to the USS Laffey work party will assist our efforts greatly as we try to assure that the USS Laffey remains the “Ship That Would Not Die”.


During World War II, Navy nurses were stationed at 40 naval hospitals and 176 dispensaries, on board 12 hospital ships and as flight nurses on air evacuation missions. Throughout the war, they earned over 300 military awards for their service.

(From an article in military.com)


As many of you know, Joe and Dinah Folino have recently experienced a difficult health issue. Joe has asked that the following note of thanks be included in the Laffey News:

“The list is too long to mention each of you, but you know who you are and Dinah and I thank each of you from the bottom of our hearts. We thank you for all the prayers, good thoughts, wishes and cheery notes that were sent. Our hearts go out to each of you.

We have heard from fellow shipmates that served with me, and from many others I didn’t even know. However, having been a part of the USS Laffey Association over these many years, I can easily recognize that is of no consequence: Each of us is always there when needed. The outpouring of love and good wishes has been a welcome source of strength over these past few weeks.

Unfortunately, the aneurism that struck Dinah has left her with little or no sight in her left eye. But, considering the fact that 86% of patients  who experience the type of surgery Dinah did either do not make it at all or are left with a stroke that leaves them partially paralyzed , we feel thankful.

We thank God she is still with us and with the good grace of God and friends such as we have in the USS Laffey Association we shall continue with our faith in the Lord.

Thanks to each of you again and please continue to pray for Dinah as this is still a critical period.

God Bless each of you.”          

Joe and Dinah Folino



Many of you are aware of the involvement in the USS Laffey Association of Fred Nardei and his wife Mary Ann. Their tremendous efforts over the years have contributed heavily towards the success of this association and its reunions.

Many of you are also aware of the health issues that have recently affected the lives of Fred and Mary Ann. I had spoken earlier with our President, Sonny Walker, and asked him to see if Fred might provide us with an update on his wife’s condition. Fred’s response is as follows:

Hi Bob,

I spoke with Sonny last night he said that lots of the Laffey family has been asking about Mary Ann’s medical condition and he suggested that I provide you with some information. He said you might want to share the info in the next newsletter.

She had been experiencing back pain and mild coughing since our return from a cruise in mid April. Our family physician was treating her for a possible kidney infection because she had a trace of blood in a urine sample and she had a chest x-ray which came back negative.

By May 27 the back pain had become so severe I took her to Prompt Med at our local hospital and they performed a CAT scan which showed spots on her liver, kidney and spine.

The attending physician referred us to an Oncologist and after further CAT and MRI scans and a biopsy of her spine Mary Ann was diagnosed with stage IV metastatic adenocarcinoma and later identified as lung cancer.


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The cancer has spread throughout her body and to her spine and right femur. She was scheduled 22 radiation treatments for her L-5, T-12 vertebrae and right femur to arrest the bone damage. She has had 18 treatments with four to go, and finishes radiation July 21.

Mary Ann will have a week’s rest before she begins chemotherapy July 28. She is scheduled to have six chemo treatments over eighteen weeks and then further testing to assess the results. We are hoping and praying that we can drive the cancer into remission since there is no cure. Her oncologist has said that her condition is treatable but not curable.

Mary Ann has a strong will and positive attitude. We appreciate all the prayers, love and support we are receiving from our family and friends. She is anxiously looking forward to preparing goodies for the Laffey crewmembers. Mary Ann has a Caringbridge website which she maintains and updates frequently. Mary Ann welcomes everyone to log on and follow her journey on this her latest adventure.

Your prayers and encouragement are welcomed and appreciated.

www.caringbridge.org /visit/maryannnardei

Warmest Regards,


EDITOR’S NOTE: I’m certain that many of you will contact the above website and share your thoughts with Mary Ann and Fred. Please pray for a successful treatment and recovery by Mary Ann.




He noted that first came the date of her birth and spoke of the following date with tears,

But he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time that she spent alive on earth…..

And now only those who loved her know what that little line is worth.


The new "Post 9/11 GI Bill" will soon be heading for the President’s desk. This new benefit will give service members and veterans who have served on active-duty since Sept. 11, 2001, a new education benefits package worth up to roughly $3,000 a month. The same legislation includes a change to the current Montgomery GI Bill that will increase the monthly payment to $1,321 a month -- a total

EDITORS NOTE:  I think we all need to lie about our ages and get back into the Navy so we can get some of this good stuff they have now!! Why heck, the last provision will allow us to send the family to school if we choose not to go!!


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

Ed Samp. Jr. LCDR/Gunnery Officer
Survivor of Battle of Okinawa, April 1945
Passed Away November 23, 2007

Theodore Sawick, Commanding Officer (62-63)
Previously served as XO and on the USS Laffey
Pearl Harbor Attack Survivor
Passed Away June 5, 2008

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


The following poem appeared in a recent edition of the Sun City Hilton Head Veterans Association newsletter.  Linda Ellis is the author of the poem simply titled “The Dash”. It reads as follows:

I read of a man who stood to speak at a funeral of a friend.

He referred to the dates on her tombstone from the beginning …to the end.

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For it matters not how much we own: the cars…the house…the cash.

What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard…are there things you’d like to change?

For you never know how much time is left. (You could be at “dash midrange”)

If we could just slow down enough to consider what’s true and real,

And always try to understand the way other people feel,

And be less quick to anger, and show appreciation more,

And love the people in our lives like we’ve never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect, and more often wear a smile…

Remembering that this special dash might only last a little while.

So, when your eulogy’s being read with your life’s actions to rehash…

Would you be proud of the things they say about how you spent your dash?





Please contact the editor (Bob Wampler) with any announcement of the passing of a USS Laffey shipmate or any associate member of the USS Laffey Association and the members’ or associates’ spouses/parents.  It is our desire to honor the memory of those now deceased with a mention of their name in the Laffey News, and with a reading of their name during a shipboard reunion ceremony in October at Charleston, SC. We are a “family” and we sincerely want to pay our respects when that hour of loss arrives.  


(From the editor)

Commander Sawick was my first Commanding Officer while I was on the Laffey from 62-65.




Although I don’t have too many personal recollections of CDR. Sawick…..probably because I was too heavily involved in such important duties as a “highly trained” professional in the ship’s galley where the cooks almost immediately recognized my talents needed to be used elsewhere!

From the galley I was back into Radio Central where our current President, one Sonny Walker, used my talents as a messenger and antenna ice chipper extraordinaire (North Atlantic Cruise).


I would like to share the following information from CDR Sawick’s obituary in the Washington Post on June 28th.

Theodore Sawick was a young sailor during the attack on Pearl Harbor and he went on to serve 33 years in the Navy before retiring as a commander. He passed away at age 90.

On December 7, 1941 he was a crewmember of motor torpedo boat PT-42 which had been loaded aboard the oil tanker Ramapo along with five other torpedo boats.

Commander Sawick recalled that Japanese torpedo planes came in from the north side and dropped their torpedoes on the row of battleships…and four or five minutes after the first four torpedoes hit, the battleship Oklahoma suddenly started to capsize.

He further stated he was stunned when he saw the Oklahoma hit and the battleship Arizona blow up. “It was the most unbelievable sight you ever wanted to witness” Flames and smoke soon obscured the battleships. As a panelist on a C-SPAN broadcast, he disputed the accuracy of the 2001 movie Pearl Harbor.

After the war he served as an engineering officer of the destroyer Charles R. Ware. From 1951 to 1962 Commander Sawick’s tours included commanding the minesweeper Pigeon, serving as executive officer of the Laffey and as operations officer of the Norfolk.

In February 1962 he was the engineering officer of the carrier Randolph when it picked up astronaut


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ohn Glenn, Jr. after his historic orbit of the earth in Friendship 7. A month later he returned to the Laffey as its commanding officer.

Commander Sawick retired from the Navy in 1969 after a career that began in 1935.


The President of the USS Laffey Association, Sonny Walker, has approved the addition of a new feature to our website. We are now inviting and accepting website stories and pictures from USS Laffey Association members about their children, grandchildren and (possibly) great-grandchildren. Please submit stories of interest or “tall tales” (and pictures) to A.J. Tarquino, Website Manager.


For those with computers at home or for those who have access to a computer at their local library, please take a few moments every so often and visit the official USS Laffey website: www.laffey.org and see what a good job AJ Tarquino is doing to maintain Ari Phoutrides previous excellent efforts. Our website is constantly updated to inform all hands of changes and new features. Take a peak!!

Editor’s Comment: Please review the membership roster (scroll down) at the USS Laffey website and inform Pete Lacore, Membership Chairman, of any changes or corrections that need to be made to your listing. Pete’s address and phone number appear in the Laffey News Notes section of this newsletter.


During World War II there was a 4th Fleet tasked with hunting German submarines in the South Atlantic.  Well…..the 4th Fleet is back after almost 60 years when it closed up shop. However, the prey this time is drug runners in the Caribbean.


The Navy Times reported on May 5, 2008 that the Navy announced on April 24th that it was re-establishing the 4th Fleet to be based at Naval Station Mayport, FL.  The command will operate as the naval component of US Southern Command and


will have a SEAL at the helm. Their focus will be on the Central and South American waters.

This new layer of support “would allow a much better and more concerted response to problems that range from hurricanes to medical diplomacy to counter-narcotics and counterterrorism.”


(From the Editor of the Laffey News)

One of our shipmates, Roby Karlie (63-65), was at the last reunion in Virginia Beach and he noticed a GMC or Chevrolet (newer) white truck with a front license tag that depicted the USS Laffey. He asked if I knew where he could obtain one for his personal vehicle. “Billy the Boot” Bossard (62-64) and I have been trying to obtain a source for this tag but many firms we’ve identified require minimum purchases and higher dollar amounts. 

So-o-o-o-o-o….Would the owner of that newer white truck please identify yourself and let all of us know where we can get that special USS Laffey tag. Call or write me, Bob Wampler, at the mailing address shown on the Laffey News or phone 843-705-2296 and leave a message if I’m not there to receive your call. Your assistance would be greatly appreciated.


 Blue has not always been navy blue. In fact it wasn't until 1745 that the expression navy blue meant anything at all. In that year several British officers petitioned the Admiralty for adaptation of new uniforms for its officers. The first lord requested several officers to model various uniforms so he could select the best. He then selected several uniforms of various styles and colors to present to King George II for a final decision. King George, unable to decide on either style or color, finally chose blue and white because they were the favorite colors of the first lord's wife, the Duchess of Bedford.

MMCM(SS) Greg Peterman USN Retired

(From military.com)
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Rules for Rendering Hand Salute of U.S. Flag

New Law Allows Retirees and Vets to Salute Flag

The National Defense Authorization Act of 2008 contained an amendment to allow un-uniformed service members, military retirees, and veterans to render a hand salute during the hoisting, lowering, or passing of the U.S. flag. The amendment does not address saluting the flag during the playing of the national anthem, pledge of allegiance, honors (i.e. Taps), or any other saluting situations. 

Excerpt from H.R. 4986:


Section 9 of title 4, United States Code, is amended by striking “all persons present” and all that follows through the end of the section and inserting the following: “all persons present in uniform should render the military salute. Members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute. All other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, or if applicable, remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Citizens of other countries present should stand at attention. All such conduct toward the flag in a moving column should be rendered at the moment the flag passes.”

(Note – The above information was obtained from the military.com website.)


The Navy Times recently reported in an article headlined “Abandon Ship” that within three years almost all junior sailors living aboard ships in port will trade their mass berthing, gang heads, and daily inspections for two-person barracks rooms with private bathrooms, cable and WI-FI.


“These changes mark the final phase of Homeport Ashore, a plan with roots in a 1996 decision to pay housing allowances to single E-6’s on sea duty. That trickled down to E-5’s and E-4’s and now has  been expanded to the more ambitious goal of getting every shipboard sailor a place to stay ashore when his ship is in port.”

The program has already made great strides. Four years ago 24,000 junior enlisted sailors lived on ships and a generation ago most enlisted sailors of all ranks called their gray hulls home.

Currently, the objective is to move E-3’s and below and E-4’s with less than four years of service off the ships and provide them with barracks space.

Presently about 9,000 sailors do not have accommodations and by the end of 2010 that number should fall to 2,100. No timeline has been set for the final 2,100 sailors to move off their ships and sailors who want to stay on ships will be allowed to do so.

Currently, all officers, all sailors E-5 and above, and E-4’s with at least four years of service qualify for either a housing allowance or a barracks room when their ship is in port.


I don’t intend to sound envious…but I am!! Good grief! How did we ever survive living aboard the USS Laffey when it lacked air conditioning in the berthing areas, where we constantly smelled of diesel fuel, where we could take a shower and return to our berthing compartment and with hot air blowing from the vents the perspiration process would immediately begin to eliminate the benefits of that shower? And who of us will ever forget those intimate, sharing moments in the “gang heads” mentioned above by the Navy Times?


Please be reminded that the Board of Directors of the USS Laffey Association voted to have all dues payable on the 1st of January of each year. This will eliminate the confusion surrounding when to send your membership dues. For those who have not yet

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paid their 2008 annual dues, please remit $25.00 to Mr. Pete Lacore at the address shown in the Laffey News Notes Section.

 Ms. Zelma Schulte of Hemet, CA asked if we could publish and share the above photo of La Verne George Hazen and sister Lucille. La Verne served aboard the USS Laffey during WWII. Should any of you “old salts” recognize or remember La Verne please let us know and we’ll put you in touch with Zelma. She is working on a family history project and would appreciate any information out there.


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

USS Allen M. Sumner (DD-692) Association    $500

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.




Listen up lads: It’s getting really close to the time of our next reunion. This year’s location is Charleston, SC, the final homeport of the USS Laffey. For those who have already signed-up and have sent your reunion fee to Sonny, we say well done. For the procrastinators among us, get yourselves up from those comfortable “Lazyboy” lounge chairs and fill out the reservation form at the end of this edition of the Laffey News. Sonny needs to get a total head count of attendees as soon as possible so that proper transportation and food arrangements can be made. Remember, we can’t start the party until you’re all there!! Judging from our fond memories of Main and Granby Streets, I know we are all party animals in search of good times!!

PLEASE NOTE: The Laffey News is intended for distribution to active membership and is included in your membership dues.


The Navy Times recently reported that the USS Russell has the first ever live blog to be composed by crew members of a deployed warship.

“Lt. Cmdr Chris Van Avery, executive officer of the Pearl Harbor Hawaii based destroyer Russell was looking for a way to help his crew’s families stay connected with the ship before it sailed in March 2008 for the Persian Gulf.”


“The Destroyermen” blog is part Navy primer, part adventure story, and part diary. One regular feature, “Eye Candy for Sailors” includes images that range from glorious ocean sunsets to pictures of crew members at work.


The crucial factor was having sailors make the decisions about what stories and pictures to post. It has been a remarkable success. For those wishing to see just what the Russell is doing, please visit their site at http://destroyermen.blogspot.com


There was a mini-work party on the Laffey from June 21st thru the 23rd, 2008 and there were some

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special guests brought on board to help Ray Broll (55-57) perform his “duties.” Ray’s youngest son, Kris, and grandson, Matthew, were on hand to lend whatever help Ray “needed”.

With pride, Ray provided a tour of the entire ship. Malcolm Jenkins of Patriots Point even furnished a key to the Plot and the MK37 Director as their top to bottom and stem to stern tour continued.

The other work party attendees gave the guests a tremendous welcome, as one would expect of USS Laffey sailors.  Ray informed us that sleeping aboard was a treat for his family members, especially Matthew. As for Ray, being able to share the Laffey with his son and grandson was a great, special experience.

While there in Charleston (Mt. Pleasant), Ray’s son and grandson also toured the other ships at Patriots Point, visited Fort Sumter, and Fort Moultrie.


Hi Sonny

How you doing!?

Just thought I would send you a note as I was writing to our old friends! Did you hear that “Day of the Kamikaze” won a gold award at the New York Festivals? It just broadcast here in the UK a couple of weeks ago and was very well received thankfully.

Anyway I hope you're well - just wanted to let you know that we think of our Uncle Sonny every now and then!

Take good care of yourself!


Nacressa Swan
Producer, Man Made Marvels

Darlow Smithson Productions
Highgate Studios 53-79

Highgate Road, London







The Laffey Video has arrived!


Attention All Hands:


After many years of ideas, investigations, questions, and much sweat, it looks like the video project has finally become a reality.


The History Channel has made a 20-25 minute video, free of charge, from the “Dog Fights” series show featuring the LAFFEY that was aired last summer, and has given us the authority to show the video aboard the ship for the visitors.


Craig Hadley, who runs the “Living History” program at Patriots Point aboard the Laffey, does a lot of work with The History Channel people and got them to do this for us. Many thanks go to Craig.


I had a great meeting with Bob Howard and Tom Sprowl from Patriots Point about our video project. We offered to purchase the equipment to be used to show the video introducing the visitors to our ship’s history. Bob agreed that Patriots Point will fund the program from the LAFFEY FOUNDATION FUND that has been on the books at Patriots Point for a number of years and hasn’t been touched.


After meeting with Tom Sprowl about where the video could be shown, we suggested that the After Officers Quarters would be the best location. There will be a large flat screen monitor hung on the after bulkhead and benches will be placed for the visitors to sit and enjoy the history of the USS LAFFEY. Tom also wants to run a 3-4 minute video on a smaller screen in the new LAFFEY LEGACY ROOM on the hangar deck.


We think this will give visitors a whole new insight into what they are actually seeing when they tour the ship. It will answer many questions and allow them to leave the Laffey knowing what our ship stands for and the pride we have in her.


Sonny Walker


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  • Please notify the editor (Bob Wampler) of any change in your address and inform him of any spelling or numerical errors that are contained on your newsletter mailing label.  Changes and corrections should be sent to the editor whose address is shown on the back page of this and every edition of the Laffey News (or call and leave a message at 843-705-2296).  You should also include a new phone number if your address changed.


  • USS Laffey Association Membership Applications can be found at our website: www.laffey.org.  Please encourage others to join or rejoin our dedicated and proud membership!


  • Annual $25.00 membership fees, life membership fees, and new membership $25.00 fees should be in the form of a check or money order made out to the USS Laffey Association and then sent to Mr. Pete Lacore, Membership Secretary, 117 Confederate Drive, Cynthiana, KY 41031.  For membership questions please phone Pete at (859)-234-2451.





  Edgar “Sonny” Walker …………...President
  Jim Cox …………………..…Vice President
  Joe Folino ……………………..….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
  Don Vorgity

Website Manager

  A.J. Tarquino

Newsletter Staff

  Bob Wampler .. Editor and Circulation Manager



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