The guided-missile destroyer USS Laboon (DDG 58) returned to Naval Station Norfolk today after a six-month deployment in the 6th Fleet Areas of Operations (AOR).
The Ballistic Missile Defense-equipped Laboon deployed to the Mediterranean Sea, February 13. Upon arrival there, the ship assumed Operation Sharp Sentry duties after relieving USS Cole (DDG 67) while in port Rota, Spain.
While deployed, Laboon took part in multiple Passing Exercises with French, Israeli, Greek, Turkish, Romanian, and Georgian naval forces. Interactions varied in levels of operational and tactical complexity, ranging from high-speed maneuvers and search and rescue drills, to gunnery exercises.
Seaman Apprentice Jacob Maxwell, one of Laboon’s newest sailors, described what he took away from the deployment.
“My favorite part of deployment was the ports we visited in Europe and the Black Sea,” said Maxwell. “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. Everywhere we went; people were very friendly and always willing to help out, even if they didn’t speak English.”
More seasoned sailors, like Damage Controlman 1st Class Robert Montrois, on his fourth deployment, had first-time experiences during the deployment as well.
“This deployment in particular was very special because it was my first as a husband, a father and a leading petty officer,” said Montrois. “Knowing everyone on board will be coming home safe and healthy is the best feeling a Navy leader can have.”
The nine other Laboon Sailors and officers who became new fathers while underway supporting America and her interests overseas, shared Montrois’ sentiments, adding that their family helped make this deployment successful with their encouragement and support.
“Many Laboon crew members said goodbye to their families and friends about seven months ago on January 6, as Laboon departed to complete our final deployment certification event off the coast of Florida,” said Cmdr. Christopher M. McCallum, commander of the USS Laboon. “In the roughly 200 days that Laboon has been gone, the officers and Sailors have accomplished so much; it’s staggering.