By Ens. Sean A. Brophy, USS LASSEN Public Affairs
SUBIC BAY, REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES
(October 2, 2010) -- The Arleigh-Burke class guided missile destroyer USS Lassen (DDG 82) arrived in Subic Bay today for a scheduled port visit.
Prior to arrival, Lassen’s crew of 280 Sailors, including Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron Light 51 Detachment One, conducted escort duties for the USS George Washington (CVN 73) Carrier Strike Group.
During the transit, Lassen assumed duties as Alternate Air Defense Commander and led the Strike Group through the historic waters of the Surigao Strait. “We have to remain vigilant when transiting through any strait. With close proximity to land, the dangers of increased merchant and fishing traffic require skilled ship handling,” said Lt. j.g. Sarah K. Oleen, officer of the deck for the transit.
The Surigao Strait marks the site of the last battleship-to-battleship engagement to date, which took place during World War II in late October 1944. One of four major actions that comprised the Battle of Leyte Gulf, the largest naval battle in history, it was fought in an effort to liberate the Philippines.
“Accompanying the carrier is always a privilege. Escorting them through such a historic battle site made it an even more memorable experience. We strive to build upon the legacy of the battleship and destroyer sailors who sacrificed their lives in these waters,” said Lassen’s commanding officer Cmdr. H. B. Le.
During the port visit, Lassen Sailors will have the opportunity to interact with local citizens, experience Philippine culture, and enjoy the natural beauty of the surrounding land and seascapes.
U.S. Navy port visits not only improve the quality of life for sailors, but also play an important role in promoting peace and stability by strengthening relationships between the U.S. and countries throughout the Western Pacific.
Following the port visit, Lassen will continue on its fall deployment in the U.S. 7th Fleet Area of Responsibility. Lassen is assigned to Destroyer Squadron 15 and is forward-deployed to Yokosuka, Japan.