USS Laboon Sailors Participate in St. Patrick’s Day Parade

USS Laboon Sailors Participate in St. Patrick's Day Parade

Sailors from guided-missile destroyer USS Laboon (DDG 58) participated in the city’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, March 18.

The crowd of nearly 600,000 expressed their affection, cheering and whistling as the formation stepped off smartly and began the three-mile march through the city.

“I had no idea there were going to be so many people there,” said Gas Turbine Systems Technician (Mechanical) Fireman Precious D. Quiroz, a native of Los Angeles and a Laboon Sailor who marched in the parade. They seemed very happy to see us. My favorite part was when we would break out of the formation to greet crowd members. They got really excited about that, especially the younger kids.”

The formation periodically stopped marching as they made their way through the cordoned-off streets, and Sailors would rush to the sidewalks to receive handshakes and hugs from the smiling Boston locals who thanked them for their service in between loud cheers.

“I also liked how they would say ‘thank you ladies and gentlemen for your service’ when they noticed there were females in the formation,” said Quiroz. “I really liked that.”

Laboon’s crew moored the ship in Boston March 15, and prior to the parade, invited local dignitaries to a reception on the flight deck and opened the ship to the public for tours.

Laboon Sailors also volunteered their time during the port call to participate in two community relations projects (COMRELS). Dozens of Sailors volunteered their time helping homeless veterans and helping to register more than 2,000 people for the St. Patrick’s Day 5k.

“I personally feel that its important when a ship makes a port visit that they provide a little bit to the community and really show that the Navy is made up of a great number of Sailors and individuals who not only want to serve their country, but also want to serve in the communities of the different ports that we pull into,” said Cmdr. James Storm, commanding officer of Laboon.

Throughout Laboon’s stay, the crew was treated exceptionally well by the locals.

This was probably the best reception I have ever seen in my career,” said Storm. “It was absolutely amazing. The people of South Boston rolled out the red carpet for us and they treated our Sailors with thanks for the service they do. They were proud, I think, to see the caliber of Sailor that is on Laboon and in the United States Navy. They went out of their way to make us feel welcomed. They went out of their way to thank Sailors for their service. I know a couple of my Sailors had meals and beverages purchased for them. And really all that is from a community that’s just grateful for their service.”

The day of the parade also happened to be the 17th anniversary of Laboon’s commissioning. The Arleigh-Burke-class destroyer, measuring 505 feet and weighing approximately 8700 tons, was commissioned March 18, 1995 from Bath Iron Works Corporation in Bath Maine.

“The fact that Laboon is 17 years old and we’re still building destroyers of the same class says a lot for the design itself and the technology that’s in it,” said Storm. And I personally am very proud to be on this ship. Even though she may be 17 years old, I think the people of Boston saw she’s a very capable ship. She looks great and more importantly, the Sailors who really breathe the life into her and maintain her have pride in her and I can’t think of any other ship I would rather be on.”

Laboon departed Boston March 19, to join the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group for a group sail.

Naval Today Staff , March 23, 2012; Image: navy