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Laboon Returns From Deployment

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS150724-20
Release Date: 7/24/2015 2:31:00 PM

From USS Laboon Public Affairs

NORFOLK (NNS) -- The guided-missile destroyer USS Laboon (DDG 58) returned to Naval Station Norfolk, July 24, after a six-month deployment in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations (AOR).

The ballistic missile defense-equipped Laboon deployed to the Mediterranean Sea, Feb. 13. Upon arrival, the ship assumed Operation Sharp Sentry duties after relieving the guided-missile destroyer USS Cole (DDG 67) in Rota, Spain.

Under the leadership of Cmdr. Christopher M. McCallum, the Laboon officers and crew conducted a variety of operations with multinational allies, including exercises with the French Horizon-class frigate Forbin (F 40), the Turkish Yavuz-class frigate TCG Yildirim (F 243), and the Israeli Sa'ar 4-class missile boats INS Keshet and Romach.

'Many Laboon crew members said goodbye to their families and friends about seven months ago on Jan. 6, as Laboon departed to complete our final deployment certification event off the coast of Florida,' said McCallum. 'In the roughly 200 days that Laboon has been gone, the officers and Sailors have accomplished so much. It's staggering.'

Logging more than 42,000 nautical miles, Laboon traversed every major choke point in the U.S. 6th Fleet AOR, from the Strait of Gibraltar to the Dardenelles and Bosporus Straits, for operations in the Black Sea. Laboon led the way in improving interoperability and promoting regional maritime safety, security, and stability during the U.S.-Greek-Israeli Operation Noble Dina and U.S.-Israeli Operation Noble Shirley. The crew also supported the opportunity to work with Special Forces Europe (SOCEUR) SEAL Platoons in numerous visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) tactical training events.

While achieving mission success, Sailors also made time for individual accomplishments as well; 43 advanced to the next pay grade and 91 earned their Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist pin. Additionally, three officers earned their Surface Warfare Officer qualification.

'My favorite part of deployment was the ports we visited in Europe and the Black Sea,' said Seaman Apprentice Jacob Maxwell, one of Laboon's newest Sailors. 'I never thought I'd get the opportunity to travel the world and see so many historic places. From Rome to Jerusalem, and so many other places. I met so many people and learned about many different cultures.'

Damage Controlman 1st Class Robert Montrois said that, while this was his fourth deployment, he was still able to have first-time experiences.

'This deployment in particular was very special because it was my first as a husband, a father and a leading petty officer,' he said. 'Knowing everyone on board will be coming home safe and healthy is the best feeling a Navy leader can have.'

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