Former shipmates return to see Laffey go home

(Isaac McIntyre/WCIV)

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) -- Known as "the ship that would not die," the Laffey will return home to Patriots Point this week.

The World War 2 destroyer has been in repairs since 2009, costing more than $9 million. The Laffey now has a new hull, and pathways have been repainted and restored.

Sonny Walker has served as president of the U.S.S. Laffey Association for the last seven years. Walker and former shipmates have traveled from all over the country to see the Laffey make a safe return.

"We're all ecstatic, the entire crew," Walker said. "I've been getting e-mails asking when it is going to move."

Walker was onboard the Laffey in the 60s. He said he has a lot of good memories, but it's hearing the stories from WW2 veterans that pull at his heart strings.

"To be perfectly honest when we we're aboard I didn't know much about the history of the ship, not really until I got involved afterward."

Walker and other association members, have what they call work parties. They travel in and help keep up the ship.

"We did a lot of work here in November as far as repainting the passage ways and we've opened up some new passage ways."

The Laffey has been at the North Charleston Ship Yard Creek. Currently officials believe it will return to Patriots Point during the early part of the week.

Walker said it's important to preserve this piece of history and teach new generations.

"The kids, when they come aboard here and people from other countries come and we show them they're just amazed to learn what it has been through and what it is today," Walker said. "Its a very important piece of history to save and we cant praise the people at Patriots Point enough for saving her."