« Back to Blog

USS Laffey Reunion Holds Memorial Service

Molly Hamilton Sep 30, 2014

Every year, former shipmates of the USS Laffey gather together for a reunion.  While a reunion provides a happy occasion for former shipmates to reconnect and reminisce while sharing memories of their time served aboard the same ship, it also allows for a more solemn event.  Each year, the Laffey’s shipmates take time to remember those who once served the ship who have since died.  This year’s reunion saw two memorial services.

To start the day, more than 100 people, former shipmates of the USS Laffey and their family members, gathered around a growing young live oak tree planted on the grounds of the Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum, home to the USS Laffey.  The tree was planted nearly a year ago in memory of the 32 USS Laffey sailors who died in the kamikaze attack April 16, 1945 during World War II at radar picket station #1 in Okinawa.  During this part of the service, a memorial plaque was unveiled commemorating those 32 sailors.


DSC02582 DSC02590


At the conclusion of that ceremony, the former shipmates and their families headed to their beloved ship, the USS Laffey DD-724, for another memorial service.  At this service, in addition to the 32 sailors who lost their lives in the kamikaze attack, attendees took time to remember the shipmates and their family members who have died in the past year.





At the conclusion of the ceremony, Bill Blackstock played “Taps.”  Bill’s father, also Bill Blackstock, was a Pearl Harbor survivor (serving at that time on the USS West Virginia) who later served on the USS Laffey.  The senior Mr. Blackstock died a few years ago, but his family still enjoys staying involved with the USS Laffey Association.


The most senior veteran attending the reunion this year is Mr. Bob Logsdon, a 97-year old from San Bernadino, California.  He served in World War II aboard the USS Aventinus in the South Pacific.  During the Korean War, he served on the USS Laffey.  He most appreciates the camaraderie amongst the shipmates and said he continues to come to the reunion because the time spent onboard is such a “big part of your life.”  Five years ago, he married his wife Donnis and they enjoy traveling together.  Recently a Rotary trip took them to Sydney, Australia!  Clearly, being 97 is not slowing him down.


The reunion this year was organized in large part by the USS Laffey Association President Sonny Walker.  Mr. Walker served aboard the USS Laffey from 1960-1963 and thoroughly enjoys his role as the association president.  He relishes the opportunities to come back to the ship and visit the Radio Room where he worked.


The USS Laffey Association holds a reunion each year.  Every other year the reunion is held in Charleston where they, unlike many ship reunions, are blessed with the opportunity to revisit their actual ship.  They are all proud of their service on “the ship that would not die” and happy that they know they can always come to Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum to revisit their memories on their ship.


« Previous Post

American Veterans Traveling Tribute Vietnam Memorial Wall Coming to Patriots Point

Next Post »

Work continues on schedule for new Vietnam Experience exhibit

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

  • Military (ID required)
  • $22
  • Buy Now
  • SC Teachers/SC First Responders (ID required)
  • $23
  • Buy Now

COVID-19 Notice

Due to health safety measures related to COVID-19, structured, in-person education programs have been suspended. Please consider booking a guided or self-guided tour for your group.

More Information

COVID-19 Notice

Due to health safety measures related to COVID-19, our overnight camping program has been suspended. Please consider joining our exclusive list to be among the first to learn when the program relaunches.

Interested in booking a day group visit to see our museum? Discounted rates for 10+ people.

More Information