Laffey (Allen M. Sumner-class) file photo [4648]

Laffey (Allen M. Sumner-class)

CountryUnited States
Ship ClassAllen M. Sumner-class Destroyer
BuilderBath Iron Works Corporation, Bath, Maine, United States
Laid Down28 Jun 1943
Launched21 Nov 1943
Commissioned8 Feb 1944
Decommissioned30 Jun 1947
Displacement2,200 tons standard
Length377 feet
Beam41 feet
Draft16 feet
Power Output60,000 shaft horsepower
Speed34 knots
Range6,500nm at 15 knots
Armament6x5in, 12x40mm AA, 11x20mm AA, 10x21in torpedo tubes, 6 depth charge projectors, 2 depth charge tracks
Recommission26 Jan 1951


ww2dbaseLaffey was commissioned with Commander F. Julian Becton in command. Upon completion of shakedown and training, she served in the Atlantic Ocean briefly before departing for Britain from Norfolk, Virginia, United States on 14 May, escorting a convoy. Arriving at Plymouth, England, Britain on 27 May, she prepared for the Normandy invasion.

ww2dbaseOn 3 Jun 1944, Laffey departed in escort of tugs, landing craft, and two Dutch gunboats. The group arrived off Utah beach near Baie de la Seine, France at dawn on 6 Jun. On 6 and 7 Jun, she screened for ships of the invasion fleet. On 8 and 9 Jun, she bombarded German gun emplacements along the beach. On 12 Jun, she chased away a wolfpack of German submarines which had torpedoed destroyer Nelson. She returned to Portsmouth, England on 22 Jun, and three days later sailed in escort of battleship Nevada to bombard German defenses at the Cherbourg-Octeville region. During the bombardment, she was hit above the waterline by a ricocheting shore battery shell, but suffered little damage because the shell failed to detonate. She returned to Belfast, Northern Ireland, Britain on 1 Jul 1944, then sailed for the United States with Destroyer Division 119 on 4 Jul. She arrived at Boston, Massachusetts, United States on 9 Jul.

ww2dbaseAfter a month of overhaul and two weeks of testing new equipment, Laffey sailed for Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, United States in Sep via the Panama Canal. After training, she arrived at Ulithi Islands on 5 Nov 1944 to join Task Force 38. She escorted carriers of the task force as their aircraft struck the Philippine Islands. On 11 Nov, she spotted a parachute and left the screen for rescue, which turned out to be a badly wounded Japanese pilot; she cared for the pilot and transferred him to carrier Enterprise during refueling operations on the next day. On 27 Nov, she departed from Ulithi with Destroyer Squadron 60 to form anti-submarine and anti-aircraft screen for the 7 Dec 1944 invasion of Ormoc Bay, Leyte, Philippine Islands. At Leyte, she silenced a shore battery and bombarded several enemy troop concentrations. On 15 Dec, she supported the Mindoro, Philippine Islands invasion, then on 17 Dec escorted the empty landing craft back to Leyte. In Jan 1945, she supported the Lingayen Gulf, Luzon, Philippine Islands invasion by acting as a part of the screen. She returned to Ulithi on 27 Jan after the Philippine actions.

ww2dbaseIn Feb 1945, Laffey supported Task Force 58 while the task force's aircraft struck Tokyo, Japan as indirect support for the Battle of Iwo Jima. Late that month, she carried intelligence information to Guam, Mariana Islands for Admiral Chester Nimitz's review, arriving on 1 Mar.

ww2dbaseOn 2 Mar, Laffey sortied with Task Force 54 for the Okinawa invasion. She helped capture Kerama Retto, bombarded shore establishments, harassed the enemy with fire at night and screened heavy units. On 14 and 15 Apr, while 30 miles or 50 kilometers north of Okinawa, Japan, she helped defending against several waves of Japanese air attacks. She achieved at least nine kills, but she also suffered heavy damage after receiving four bombs hits and six suicide Kamikaze special attack hits. In terms of personnel, she lost 32 men, and a further 71 were wounded. She was towed to Okinawa on 17 Apr for temporary repairs, then sailed to the drydock at Todd Shipyard Corp, Seattle, Washington, United States for permanent repairs that lasted until 6 Sep, after the war was over.

ww2dbaseAfter several patrol and training missions, Laffey participated in Operation Crossroads at Bikini Atoll, gathering scientific data. After further duties in the Pacific Ocean, she was decommissioned in mid-1947.

ww2dbaseOn 26 Jan 1951, Laffey was recommissioned as demanded by the Korean War. Commander Charles Holovak took her on a shakedown cruise off San Diego, California, United States then headed for overhaul and training in Norfolk, Virginia, United States and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, respectively. In mid-Jan 1952, she operated with Task Force 77 off Korea. In May 1952, with Captain William Whiteside in command, she participated in blockade operations in the Wanson Harbor where she earned high acclaims. Secretary of the United States Navy Dan A. Kimball noted:

Although frequently subjected to hostile fire in Wanson Harbor while embarked in his flagship, the U.S.S. LAFFEY, Captain Whiteside conducted a series of daring counterbattery duels with the enemy and was greatly instrumental in the success achieved by his ship. By his inspiring leadership, sound judgment and zealous devotion to duty throughout, Captain Whiteside contributed materially to the success of the Naval blockade of the east coast of Korea and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

ww2dbaseAfter a brief refitting period at Yokosuka, Japan on 30 May, Laffey served off Korea until 22 Jun. She returned to Norfolk, Virginia via the Suez Canal on 19 Aug. Until Feb 1954, she operated in the Caribbean Sea with a hunter-killer group. Between Feb and 29 Jun 1954, she participated in a world cruise. Based out of Norfolk, Virginia, she participated in fleet exercise and plane guard duties until 7 Nov 1956. From Dec 1956 to Feb 1957, she operated in the eastern Mediterranean Sea during the Israeli-Egyptian conflict. Between Sep and Dec 1957, she operated off Scotland, Britain with North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces and then in the Mediterranean Sea with the US Navy 6th Fleet. In Jun 1958, she exercised in the Caribbean Sea. Between Aug 1959 and Jan 1960, she operated in the Mediterranean Sea and the Middle East, and off east Africa, returning to Norfolk, Virginia on 28 Feb 1960. After normal operations out of Norfolk and another NATO exercise, she visited Antwerp, Belgium in Oct 1960. In Jan 1961, she headed back to the Mediterranean Sea, where she assisted British freighter Dara in distress. Between Aug and Feb 1963, she performed various training missions. Between Mar and Oct, she served with the Norfolk Test and Evaluation Detachment. Between Oct 1963 and Jun 1964, she operated with a hunter-killer group along the east coast of the United States. Between 12 and 23 Jun, she made a cruise to Palma de Mellorca, Spain. Between 25 Jun and Sep 1964, she operated in the Mediterranean Sea; among her missions at this time was to collect intelligence on Soviet naval forces in the region.

ww2dbaseIn Mar 1975, Laffey was struck from US Navy roster. She was made into a museum ship at Patriot's Point in Charleston, South Carolina, United States alongside the aircraft carrier Yorktown.

ww2dbaseSource: United States Navy Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Sep 2007

Laffey (Allen M. Sumner-class) Operational Timeline

8 Feb 1944 Laffey (Allen M. Sumner-class) was commissioned into service.
30 Jun 1947 Laffey (Allen M. Sumner-class) was decommissioned from service.


Laffey underway, circa mid-1944

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Juan Magaz (Madrid-Spain) says:
7 Sep 2007 09:12:09 AM

It appears to be that this ship has been mistakenly placed at the rather odd Abyssinian Navy. Regards
2. Commenter identity confirmed C. Peter Chen says:
7 Sep 2007 12:10:05 PM

The country field for USS Laffey has been corrected in the database. Thanks Juan!

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Event(s) Participated:
» Normandy Campaign, Phase 1
» Philippines Campaign, Phase 1, the Leyte Campaign
» Philippines Campaign, Phase 2
» Okinawa Campaign

Destroyer Laffey (Allen M. Sumner-class) Photo Gallery
Laffey underway, circa mid-1944

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