ABOUT THE INTERVIEWEES
Rob Lalumiere is an advanced deep and wreck diver from Lebanon, New Hampshire. He was first certified as an open water PADI Diver in 2002 and now holds nine certifications. Lalumiere has logged over 1000 dives, majority of them below 196 feet, (60 meters). His affinity for deep diving and WWII history brought him to Leyte, Philippines where he sought out ships sunk in the Pacific War. After multiple finds, he searched for the undiscovered USS Cooper. Lalumiere has also owned and worked for companies that specialize in manufacturing mechanical equipment and mini rocket using mixed gas flows and combustion engineering.
Hank Wagener is an 81-year-old veteran who survived the torpedoed USS Cooper. In February of 2005, the Bigfoot production team contacted Wagener about the documentary. When asked to return to Ormoc Bay to attend a memorial ceremony for his lost comrades on the USS Cooper, he gladly accepted. Wagener traveled from Chicago, Illinois to the Philippines to join the dive boat and witness the memorial from above the water. "This is something that has been bothering me for 61 years," he told Lalumiere. Through the experience, Wagener laid old memories to rest, and paid a final tribute to friends he had lost long ago.
Richard Sementelli was a 20mm gunner on the USS Allen M. Sumner, which sailed alongside the USS Cooper in Ormoc Bay. In gripping detail, Sementelli relates the battle from start to finish, with equal parts suspense and insight into the tragedy of war. A superb storyteller, Sementelli truly becomes the voice of USS Cooper: Return to Ormoc Bay.
Veda Kelley, widowed wife of Eunice Theodore Guilford Jr, lives in St. Charles, MO, just outside of St. Louis. Kelley was married to "June" as she calls her late husband, just a short time before he died defending both the Philippines and the USS Cooper. Along with his wife, he left behind an 18-month-old son, Rod - who also relates his experiences in the film. Eunice Theodore Guilford Jr. died at the age of 24.
[ return to top ]