The U.S. Navy’s guided-missile destroyer USS Laboon (DDG 58) is back at her homeport of Norfolk, Virginia, after spending six months with the George H.W. Bush Carrier strike group in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility (AOR).
Under the leadership of Cmdr. Jason Labott, Laboon officers and crew conducted a variety of operations with multinational allies including two months of counter smuggling operations, seizing more than $50 million dollars in illicit narcotics. Laboon also conducted two of the oldest naval traditions, the Shellback ceremony for crossing the equator, and the Blue Nose ceremony for crossing the Arctic Circle.
“Laboon crew members said goodbye to their families and friends six months ago on Jan. 21st, as they departed for deployment,” said Labott. “In the roughly 180 days that Laboon has been gone, the officers and Sailors have accomplished so much. It’s staggering. I couldn’t be more proud of this crew and the dedication and drive they have shown each and every day.”
Logging more than 50,000 nautical miles, Laboon traversed several major choke points in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet. From transiting the Strait of Gibraltar to the Suez Canal in order to conduct operations in Middle East, to transiting the English Channel for operations in the North Atlantic Ocean, Laboon led the way for the Strike Group.
Following operations in the 5th and 6th fleets there was a stint in the Arctic Circle for a couple weeks, where the sun never set and the sailors earned the title of “Blue Nose.” However, once Laboon’s time in the north was done, sights were set on returning home.
USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) Carrier strike group is comprised of the staff of CSG-2; the nine squadrons and staff of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8; Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 22 staff, guided-missile destroyers Laboon and USS Truxtun (DDG 103); and Mayport-based guided-missile cruisers USS Philippine Sea (CG 58) and USS Hue City (CG 66).