Missile destroyer USS Laboon releases virtual tour in honor of Memorial Day

Posted at 6:48 AM, May 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-25 06:48:56-04

NORFOLK, Va. - The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Laboon released a virtual ship tour video in honor of Memorial Day.

The Navy says the video project is just one way they continue to bridge the gap virtually through outreach to communities around the nation while social distancing and precautionary measures are in place, which prevented travel for ship/port visits, Navy Weeks and Fleet Weeks.

After the video’s open, tour guide Lt. Robert Reichardt took the virtual tour group up to the foc’sle, or forward part of the ship, to show them around and explain that they are pierside at Naval Station Norfolk, the largest Naval Base in the world. The ship’s operations officer then informed the virtual audience about the ship’s 25th birthday and their namesake, as he led them around his ship.

The guided-missile destroyer is named for a Pittsburgh, Pa., native who left there to serve his country and became a true Naval hero.

“The ship is named for ‘Father Jake’ Laboon; that’s our namesake,” said Reichardt. “‘Father Jake’ did great things for the Chaplain Corps and the Navy as a whole.”

After attending Carnegie Technical Institute (now Carnegie Mellon University), the Navy says he was commissioned at the Naval Academy and served in submarines in World War II. During a Western Pacific patrol, while under intense enemy fire, he rescued a downed pilot from heavily-mined waters and was awarded the Silver Star. Shortly after the war, he left the Navy only to be called back to duty as a Chaplain and become “Father Jake.”

Reichardt also told the virtual audience about the guided-missile destroyer, its mission and purpose, how it was both the first and also the most recent destroyer to fire the Tomahawk missile. He and fellow tour guides led the audience around the ship, through the mess decks where the crew takes their meals, to the pilot house, where the ship is driven.

To be taken to the virtual tour of the USS Laboon , click here.