The historic World War II destroyer U.S.S. Laffey is getting ready for its return to Patriot’s Point Museum in Mount Pleasant this week.
As a result, the museum is closed to the public until the weekend, although the Laffey’s return will depend on the tides and weather of Charleston harbor.
The ship has been berthed in North Charleston for the past two years as it underwent badly-needed repairs. In order to tow the Laffey back into position, crews will have to remove a pedestrian bridge that connects the shore with the museum’s docks. Since the public will be unable to access the museum’s ships without the bridge, there’s no reason to reason to keep Patriots Point open, officials say.
The Patriots Point Development Authority borrowed $9 million from the state to repair the ship in 2009 and has struggled to pay the loan back. It still owes approximately $8.7 million. It has until June 2013 to come up with a repayment plan, which director Mac Burdette says the museum is developing.
The Laffey will be displayed at the spot currently home to the submarine Clamagore. The museum plans to move the sub further down the museum docks to make room.
Laffey is one of only two Sumner-class destroyers that remain in existence. It was commissioned in 1944. It participated in the D-Day landings in Normandy, as well as the later invasions of the Philippines, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa.