Far from home
To the editor:
“ Destroyer going home,” read the headline.
The USS Laffey DD 724 was built at Bath Iron Works (BIW) in February 1944 as Robert Turcotte wrote in his letter to the editor (“ Fabled vessel,” Feb. 3). She was one of 82 BIW World War ll ships the was supplied to the U.S Navy.
Home is Bath, Maine.
Before the Maine Maritime Museum ( MMM) relocated to its present home, the museum had a storefront on Centre Street. During that time an effort was made to acquire a BIW-built World War II ship for the museum, but it had to have a history.
I inquired as to what I might do in the effort to obtain a ship. After a time, I was told that none with a history were still available. All were either sunk, scrapped or sold to a foreign navy.
I know that to bring a ship back to Bath would not be a viable investment. As good as the MMM is to Bath, the physical location of Bath would not warrant an attempt to pursue a ship.
Now that opens another opportunity. MMM has recently opened a branch in Portland. BIW has had long ties to that city, beginning in 1941.
Portland has tried to acquire a ship. Maybe a carrier is more than Portland would need, but a 2,200-ton Sumner-class World War II destroyer with an outstanding history could fill the need.
The USS Laffey DD 724 would be a nice fit.
She, like many before and after, left the mouth of the Kennebec for fame and glory in the wake of the O’Bannon, the Strong, the Drexler and, more recently, the Cole and Samuel B. Roberts. All are BIW ships that sailed the four oceans and seven seas to carry on a tradition that exists to this day.
No, Charleston, S.C., is not the Laffey’s home. Bath, Maine, is her home, and Maine is where she should be.
David S. Kaler