News Search

Original 1944 Laffey crewman returns after 73 years

By Kris Patterson | Naval Health Clinic Charleston | July 23, 2018

CHARLESTON, S.C. — WWII Veteran Waitman Kapaldo was at Patriots Point in Mount Pleasant, S.C., on June 6, 2018, to visit his old ship, the USS Laffey, for the first time in 73 years. Kapaldo is a member of the Laffey’s original 1944 crew. While on the ship from Feb. 8, 1944, to Sept. 24, 1945, he fought in several notable battles, including the D-Day invasion of Normandy. During the Battle of Okinawa, Kapaldo helped defend the USS Laffey from more than 22 Japanese kamikaze planes that concentrated their attack on the destroyer. Six of those planes flew into the ship and three bombs were dropped on it. During the 90-minute attack, 32 crew members were killed. Kapaldo had not been back aboard the USS Laffey since his last day assigned to the ship in September 1945. More than a dozen family members joined him as he reunited with the historic vessel.