A Navy veteran gets his dying wish

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) - Wearing his USS Laffey hat, 82-year-old Gerald Bowman walked up the gangplank of the ship he once called home for the first time in nearly six decades.

"The ship looked exactly like it was when I left it," he said. "It's very impressive how they restored and maintained it."

Walking the old warship again has been Bowman's dream since his prognosis of less than one year due to advanced stage heart disease.

He came with his daughter, Kim, who is also his caregiver in Elkins, Ark. Last year they were watching television and saw a story about the Laffey being repaired and being docked at Patriots Point.

Bowman says if it wasn't for that, he wouldn't have known where the Laffey was or about his desire to see it again. His daughter wrote a letter to the Dream Foundation about his wish.

"When I got out at 24, I think I was a better person from having served in the Navy," he said.

Bowman brought his Navy uniform with him to dedicate to the museum.

The Dream Foundation is a California-based organization granting wishes for adults and their families, whom are facing life-threatening illnesses.

Hardee's also a sponsored the trip.