USS Laboon joins George H.W. Bush strike group deployment preparations

Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class Verlyn Uylenglo from the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Laboon (DDG 58) directs the pilot of an MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 70 during flight quarters. Photo: US Navy

U.S. Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Laboon (DDG 58) departed its homeport of Norfolk, June 27 to join Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 2 in preparation for an upcoming deployment with.

Laboon, together with other Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 22 and CSG 2 assets, which have the U.S. Navy’s latest Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush at the helm, is participating in a group sail in order to improve at-sea interoperability ahead of the deployment.

“Group sail is a time for the strike group ships to hone their skills and training as tactical watchstanders,” said Lt. Brandon Baxter, Laboon’s training officer. “We learn to work together with the other ships to accomplish the strike group’s goals.”

The underway time allows sailors to refine their skills and training through live-fire exercises, flight quarters, damage control training, navigation drills and tactical exercises.

“All warfare areas are being exercised to make our strike group a cohesive unit,” said Baxter. “That’s why training is important. We can get proficient at our infrequently used skills so that when we are in theater, we are able to execute every mission with the highest likelihood of success.”

A training exercise like group sail provides an opportunity for the Laboon crew to integrate with the ships in the strike group.

“It lets you know how the other ships in your strike group are going to operate,” Baxter said. “You learn how all the warfare commanders do business so you can support them properly.”

Laboon’s commanding officer welcomed the opportunity to learn each ship’s strengths and capabilities.

“Just managing the operations of our own ship can be a challenge, but working with the other ships toward our strike group’s goal is much more challenging,” said Cmdr. Gary Chase, Laboon commanding officer. “When we add the carrier into the equation it will take that challenge to the next level.”

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