History Channel "Dogfights"
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Of course because of my last name, I have been interested in the history of the USS Laffey.  I watched the computer-generated re-creation of the attacks near Okinawa in April 1945 on the History Channel.  The detail was amazing.  I already have the book "The Ship That Wouldn't Die" but I definitely want to purchase the DVD.  This is my first visit to the Association Website and was pleasantly surprised by the extent and comprehensiveness of the information and following of the ship.  
Pat Laffey

WOW!   A remarkable tribute to the men who fought so bravely on Radar Picket Station #1.  Outstanding job!
CTTC (SW) Louis F Cerasani Jr.

I saw Mr. Walker on the History Channel show about the WW II kamikaze actions against the USS Laffey.  I am the author of the recently published book "Combat Loaded: Across the Pacific on the USS Tate."  While the existing literature does a good job of describing the actions of the Laffey on April 16, 1945, it does not mention what the larger implications of those actions were.  During the time when the Laffey was under attack, just over the horizon to the south a whole squadron of amphibious transports (including the Tate) packed with troops, ammo and fuel was landing the 77th Infantry Division on Ie Shima.  You don't hear much about Ie Shima, because it was an operation executed with great speed and precision and was all over in a few days, giving the US control of the then largest airfield in Asia.  In my book I give most of the credit for this operations success in its initial phases to the destroyers who were taking it on the chin while the infantry was clawing its way ashore--not far away.  The main reason the Laffey was at Radar Picket Station #1 was to provide a screen for the transports operating west of Okinawa.  Oddly, when this same Transport Squadron left for Saipan it was accompanied by the battered and charred Laffey before she returned to Seattle.  The men on those transports knew what the historians have often failed to realize, that it was but for the Grace of God and the tin can sailors on picket duty, that they escaped a similar fate. I thought you and your fellow Laffey shipmates might find this information of interest.  If you have any questions I would be happy to answer them.

Attached are the links for "Combat Loaded"

Respectfully, Tom Crew
Long Beach, Mississippi

I recently saw a program on the on the History Channel about the Laffey in WWII.  It's hard to believe that the DD could take so much and still fight the battle.  I will always admire the U.S.S. Laffey and her crew.
Russel T. Norton

I have just watched the "Dogfights" episode for the second time and found your website.  Please allow me to express my gratitude and great admiration for the conduct of the gallant skipper and crew of the USS Laffey during the action at RP1 off Okinawa, April 16, 1945.  The skill of seamanship and resolute defense displayed by the crew in this battle shall ever be a source of great pride to our people, exemplifying the finest qualities of the men of our armed forces and our nation.  My undying thanks to them-and all who served so well.
Don Cann

I watched Dogfights on TV.  I have seen the battle that was fought by this valiant ship and its incredible crew.  I salute all the men that fought in that battle and thank them for the freedom that they fought for in my behalf and the behalf of all free peoples of the world.
Michael Grisanti

Regarding the History Channel's airing of Dogfight Kamikaze and the Laffey, I just wanted to comment that as a the daughter of surviving ship's crewmember, George "Lucky" Weissinger, it gave me chills to actually see the re-enactment of what my Dad and all the Laffey crew endured that fateful day. We happened to be at a family reunion that evening, but gathered around the TV to watch, even third generation of great grandchildren were in awe of the Laffey, her crew and the brave pilots who came to her rescue. It was a somber but proud group. I am happy to say we still have our Dad with us at 86 years old and God Bless all the men and their families who served and fought to give us freedom and life at all costs.
Linda Weissinger Atkins

I recently saw the TV show "Dog Fights", which gave an detailed account of your ship's courageous battle on the 16th of April, 1945.

First let me express my gratitude and respect to you and all your shipmates for the courage they displayed under those incredibly difficult circumstances.  I watched with added personal interest since my father's cousin, my second cousin, Warren H. Chaple was aboard the USS Pringle at Radar Picket Station 14 at that same time. His ship was also under attack, but unfortunately, did not survive the Kamikaze attack and was sunk. My father's cousin was killed when the Kamikaze's bomb exploded and destroyed his position at a 40mm gun.

Yours truly was the Greatest Generation. Thank you for your many sacrifices.
Bob Chaple

I served aboard the USS Isherwood DD-520.  I saw the Laffey on the History Channel... Wow, what a beating it took and remained afloat.
Gary Kolodny

I caught the History Channel's Dogfights episode about Kamikazes, and the majority of the show was about the USS Laffey.  The danger that the crew faced with courage (and certainly some fear) during the first Japanese suicide attacks will stand as a testimony to the US Navy and the entire country!

Until now - I never knew of this story, but will share it with my family and friends.

Semper Fi!

Tim Grizzle
Glendora, CA

I have visited Laffey Twice over the years and plan returning soon.  I just watched the Laffey story on the History Channel, I really admire and respect the young men who endured the attacks she went through
James Barfield

To all you valiant men who served on the 724 in 1945, I am so proud of you.  I saw a piece on the History Channel the other night and couldn't believe the beating you guys took.  As I watched the program, I was sure the ship would sink.  When it didn't, I had a funny feeling that I had heard the name USS Laffey before.

I told my wife, "You know, I think it was the USS Laffey moored at Patriot's Point when we were down there."  Tonight, as I confirmed my suspicions with an internet search, I was astounded.  I will return to Patriot's Point and board your ship with a whole new outlook and feeling of gratitude and respect.  God bless all of you and your shipmates.  Thanks for your service and courage.
Bob Lipscomb
Tamassee, SC

Dear Shipmates,

Last Friday I watched the History Channel's "Dogfight" program which featured the April 16, 1945 Kamikaze attack on Laffey. I enjoyed it so much I watched it again Sunday night.  Ari, Sonny and Al were eloquent!

All I can say is a hearty and grateful "thank you" and "well done" to the brave men who defended our proud ship on that day. You acquitted yourselves with unbelievable bravery, and those of us who benefited from the efforts of you and the whole World War II generation owe you a tremendous debt of gratitude. We will never forget you and we are all so doubly fortunate to have our ship as a permanent memorial to all who proudly served in destroyers.
-Craig Keith  USS Laffey 1969-1971

Just saw on the History Channel a program about your ship, the USS Laffey DD-724.  Being a Tin Can sailor myself, I was aboard the USS Mansfield DD-728 during the Vietnam War, and I honor the Destroyer sailors of WW2, especially during their sea battles with the Jap Naval ships.

I must pay a visit to your ship sometime in the future, and tour another sister ship of the Mansfield, as it was my favorite duty station during 10 years active duty. 

Also had tours of duty aboard the USS Shangri-La CVA-38 (58-60), USS Point Defiance LSD-3l (1966), USS Roark DE-1053 (72-73).
Milton A. Stephens, SM2, USN---SM1 USNR, (Ret)

I just saw the story of the Laffey's Kamikaze ordeal on the History Channel show "Dogfights".  To all those who have ever served and put everything on the line to protect democracy from tyranny you have my undying admiration and thanks.  Very few of my generation can comprehend the sacrifices your generation made for our great country, however I for one know that without your courage and determination in fighting off fanatical foes our country and the world at large would be far different.  I recently came across an article listing the veterans of WWII from my hometown, and was amazed to realize that virtually every able bodied man of that age that I know or knew had served in one way or another.  It makes me very proud to know that the citizens of this country in a time of dire crisis stood together tall and proud in the face of unspeakable terror and carnage.
Jeff Walker

I just saw the TV special on Dogfights.  I was really glad that the History channel put the Laffey story in the spotlight again.  I thought it was a nice tribute to all hands.  Thanks to all the members who did the interviews and took a part in making the show a reality.  You guys did a great job!

I have been picking through all the great stuff you have on this website for a year.  So much so that I almost feel like I know some of you.  I knew there was some talk with the folks at the History Channel, but I had no idea this was going to air.  I salute everyone from the "Ship that wouldn't Die".
Steve Appleton

Learning about The USS LAFFEY and the Patriots that served on her makes me think of all those that fight for America EVERYDAY.

I thank the History Channel for there great education on the history of warfare. That's where I learned about the USS LAFFEY.
Richard Wright

Just saw the computerized story of the Kamikaze attack on "Dog Fights" last night. (July 13, 2007)  Did not know about this battle.  My heart goes out to all those brave men.  I will make it a point to visit the Laffey next year.
William M. McCulloch

I saw the part of the "Dogfights" episode about the USS Laffey engagement near Okinawa(?) this past week.  I had goose bumps as the action unfolded.  I say a heartfelt "thank you" to the crewmembers of both Laffeys for their service, courage and sacrifice.
Mark McDowell

I have been to Patriot's Point many times.  Charleston has so much to offer the history buff.  I just saw The History Channel episode of Dogfights featuring the Laffey's battle off Okinawa.  It prodded me to reacquaint myself with the U.S.S. Laffey.  Many thanks to all who served.
E. Gilbert Jordan

Awesome stories of an amazing ship and an heroic & brave crew. You gentlemen are amazing. Thank you for your service.
Glenn McDonald

I'm watching the USS Laffey on the history channel right now and I'm pretty amazed.
Glen Sizemore

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