Discovery of Sunken US Destroyer Leads to Pilgrimage of Elder Sailors

Date: 1/6/2005

After 60 long years, the USS Cooper (DD-695) is now poised to receive a special onboard memorial plaque dedicated to the 191 brave sailors who accompanied the noble warship to her final resting place 720 feet below the surface. On 28 May, Memorial Day weekend, Rob Lalumiere, a highly trained and experienced deep/technical scuba diver, will make a world record attempt at the deepest dive to a sunken wreck in order to place the 2 ft square, 40 lb engraved bronze plaque on the anchor housing of the Cooper. Highlight of the event will be the attendance of actual survivors from the Cooper sinking, originally numbering 168 men from the ship’s full company of 359 officers and enlisted personnel. Despite their advanced ages, the octogenarian fellows who were rescued from the dark Ormoc waters by PBY Catalina flying boats, plan to travel half the globe to pay their last respects and share a final solemn moment with their fallen former shipmates. It is hoped they will get closure on an event that has troubled their minds and spirits since that fateful night.

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