NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - The Associated Press is reporting that two Norfolk-based ships, the USS Laboon and the USS McFaul , will head to Libya following the attack on the U.S . Embassy in Benghazi that killed four Americans.
According to the AP, the USS Laboon moved to a position off the coast of Libya Wednesday and the USS McFaul is en route and will be positioned within a few days.
Officials say the crews of each warship equal approximately 300 people.
The USS Laboon guided missile destroyer deployed Norfolk in July for the Mediterranean and was called a strategic mission for the U.S. by Commander James Storm.
"This is a priority of the President of the United States," Storm told WAVY.com in July.
The USS Laboon, along with other Norfolk-based destroyers, had been recently equipped with the Ballistic Missile Defense System. Those destroyers are the cornerstone of what is called the president's "Phased Adaptive Approach" to protect European allies from growing missile threats.
As of July, deployment of the USS Laboon was scheduled to last at least 12 months.
Destroyer USS McFaul deployed from Norfolk in February for anti-piracy operations in the Arabian Sea and were expected to be deployed for at least six months.
Both ships carry Tomahawk cruise missiles that are guided to the target by satellite. This gives the President the option of making a precision strike once they find the group responsible for the deadly attack on the American consulate in Benghazi. Another reason these ships were selected for this mission is that they were both in the vicinity when the crisis erupted. The Laboon was making a port call in Crete, just a few hours from Libya. The McFaul was outside the Strait of Gibraltar which would place the ship just a few days away from Libya.
McFaul will be the fifth U.S. ship in the Mediterranean. Neither warship carries an aircraft, but both are equipped for helicopter landings.
In addition to the two warships, 50 Marines based out of Spain will be heading to Libya as well. They are headquartered at Naval Station Norfolk.
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