SOUDA BAY - Capt. Dan Shaffer, commander, Destroyer Squadron 60 and commander, Task Force (CTF) 65, visited Sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Laboon (DDG 58) during a visit to Souda Bay, Greece, July 25.
During the visit, Shaffer spoke with the crew about the important ballistic missile defense (BMD) missions they will conduct during their time in theater.
U.S. Navy Aegis BMD provides a mobile missile defense option using international waters to help provide protection across much of Europe against short and medium-range ballistic missile threats.
Capt. Shaffer explained that the crew will represent the U.S. as ambassadors during community service projects and port visits while operating in the 6th Fleet area of responsibility.
“The crew has done an extraordinary job preparing Laboon and themselves for this deployment,” said Cmdr. James Storm, commanding officer of Laboon. “We are ready to undertake a variety of missions and we are eager to be a valuable asset to the fleet commander in support of theater and strategic goals.”
U.S. Navy guided-missile cruisers and destroyers are multi-mission platforms, capable of conducting a wide range of missions, including, but not limited to maritime security operations, humanitarian assistance, and counter-piracy operations. BMD is only one of many capabilities that destroyers provide to the European and Mediterranean regions.
“They could be called upon for any one of the areas they have been training for,” said Capt. Shaffer. “They need to be ready.”
In 2011, USS Monterey was the first BMD-capable ship to deploy to the Mediterranean Sea for the defense of Europe as part of the European Phased Adaptive Approach. Since then, USS The Sullivans, USS Vella Gulf and USS Cole have followed.
Laboon, homeported in Norfolk, Va., is on a scheduled deployment in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility.