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Release No: 133-95
March 16, 1995



The U.S. Navy will commission the guided missile destroyer, Laboon (DDG 58) at 11 a.m., Saturday, March 18, 1995, at Naval Station, Norfolk, Virginia.

This ship is named in honor of Captain John Francis "Jake" Laboon, Jr., Chaplain Corps, U.S. Navy, (1921-1988). A 1944 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, and a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Laboon served with great distinction during World War II. In July 1945 while a submarine officer on board USS Peto (SS 265), Ensign Laboon risked his own life to save a downed American pilot off the coast of Japan. With Peto (SS 265) on the surface and under fire from Japanese shore batteries, Ensign Laboon jumped into the water and rescued the exhausted pilot, bringing him onboard and allowing the ship to move out of range of enemy guns. For this heroic act, he was awarded the Silver Star. Resigning in 1946 to enter the priesthood, Laboon returned to the Navy in 1958 as a chaplain. He was the first chaplain assigned to a ballistic missile submarine squadron. He also served in Vietnam, earning a Legion of Merit with Combat "V". Father Laboon retired from the U.S. Navy in 1980, as the Fleet Chaplain, U.S. Atlantic Fleet.

Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania will be the ceremony's principal speaker. The ship's three sponsors, de Lellis, Rosemary and Joan Laboon, all Sisters of Mercy, and siblings of the late Chaplain Laboon, will attend the ceremony. The Laboon family resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Laboon is the eighth of 32 Arleigh Burke class ships authorized by Congress to be built. These multi-mission ships are equipped with the Navy's modern Aegis combat weapons system, which combines space-age communication, radar and weapons technologies in a single platform for unlimited flexibility. These new destroyers will replace older, less capable ships that are being taken out of service as the Navy reduces spending while maintaining quality as part of its overall plan to modernize the fleet. These versatile ships are designed to operate independently or in support of aircraft carrier and amphibious operations. The ship is equipped to carry Standard surface-to-air missiles and Tomahawk cruise missiles launched from forward and aft vertical launching systems, two fully automated radar controlled Phalanx close-in weapon systems, Harpoon anti-ship missiles, one five-inch gun,

and electronic warfare systems. Laboon is 505 feet in length, has a beam of 66 feet and displaces approximately 8,500 tons fully loaded. The ship will have a crew of 25 officers and 315 Sailors. Commander Douglas D. McDonald, of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, will be the ship's commanding officer.

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