Laffey (DD 724)
At 1400 hours on February 8, 1944, commissioning ceremonies for the United States Ship Laffey commenced. It was a typical New England winter day, the weather being clear and cold.
The crew was lined up at divisional formation on the pier to which our ship was moored. Guests were seated on stands facing the ship. Officially, the Laffey was classed as a 2200 ton super-destroyer. It was the third one built of its type and naturally drew the attention of all present..
She presented a beautiful picture as she lay alongside Pier #1. Her main decks were covered with snow, and icicles hung from the 5" guns and the yardarms. This was a striking contrast to her deep blue paint job. As I noted her then, lifeless so to speak, and with no activity on board, it was difficult to conceive that she would someday be hurtling tons of destruction toward the enemy. The thought that she would someday be fighting for her very existence never crossed my mind.
The Captain of the Yard approached the gangway followed by Commander F. Julian Becton. The crew was brought to attention and the officers were piped over the side. After a reading of the orders, the commissioning pennant was hoisted to the gaff and Commander Becton assumed command of the Laffey. Upon completion of the ceremonies, guest of the crew were allowed to inspect the ship.
Very simply then, her life began. Little did we know that in the next 18 months she was to attain one of the most outstanding battle records of WWII.