USS Laffey (DD 724) is a World War II Allen M. Sumner class destroyer. She was built by the Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine. USS Laffey was launched on November 21, 1943, and was commissioned on February 8, 1944.
The Allen M. Sumner class was intended by the Navy to be an interim design between the Fletcher class and the soon to be built improved Gearing class. The Allen M. Sumner class was an improved design based on a twin enclosed 5-inch/38 caliber gun mount originally used for heavier ships. One advantage over the previous Fletcher class was reduced crowding along the centerline of the ship which made it easier to mount additional light antiaircraft guns. In all other respects the Allen M. Sumner class and the Fletcher class were similar.
During mothballlng and reactivation in 1947-51, USS Laffey's 40mm and 20mm guns were removed. In 1962 the ship underwent a Fram II overhaul (Fleet Repair and Modernization) during which a helicopter platform was mounted for the DASH (Drone Antisubmarine Helicopter) weapon system. Two hedgehog depth charge launchers and two amidship (between the funnels) sidelaunching torpedo racks replaced the original depth charge and torpedo-launching apparatus. 
USS Laffey is in fair condition and is in need of painting and repair work. Although modernized since World War II USS Laffey retains much of her integrity as an Allen M. Sumner class destroyer. Her hull, superstructure, main guns and much of her equipment date from World War II.
Role of the Destroyer in World War II
The destroyer had its origin in the Late-19th century with the development of the first self-propelled torpedo. Navies quickly developed small fast torpedo boats designed to attack and sink larger battleships and cruisers. As a counter against torpedo boats, navies built a slightly larger ship, armed with torpedoes and heavier guns. These 900-ton ships were known as torpedo boat destroyers. World War I showed these ships suited to protecting larger ships against surface, submarine, and air attack. Also, they proved more effective offensively than torpedo boats, and assumed the attack role. By the end of World War I, they were simply known as "destroyers." 
The destroyer during World War II continued in this role as an all-purpose ship ready to fight off attack from the air, on the surface, or from below the sea. It could be called upon to give fire support to troops, deliver mail and people to other ships, rescue pilots who had been forced down at sea, and to serve as the distant early warning eyes of the fleet in hostile waters.  Destroyers did not have the glamour of a battleship or an aircraft carrier but without them the aircraft carrier and battleship would be helpless against enemy submarines. They were all-purpose ships whose support of general fleet operations was vital. No aircraft or battleship ever proceeded into enemy waters without an escort of destroyers.
USS Laffey represents American destroyers that fought against Japan in World War II for the following reasons:
Chesnau, Roger, ed., Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922-1946. New York: Mayflower Books, 1980.
Harmon, Judd Scott. The USS Cassin Young (DD-793). Missoula, Montana: Pictorial Histories Publishing Company, 1985.
No Author, USS Kidd Information Brochure, 1984.
Preston, Anthony. Destroyers. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1977.
Reynolds, Clark. "National Register of Historic Places Inventory USS Laffey." Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina: Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum, 1983.
Schofield, William G. Destroyers--60 Years. New York: Rand McNally & Company, 1962.
(click on the above photographs for a more detailed view)