The USS Laboon. U.S. Navy photo by Paul Farley

U.S. forces, including the Bath Iron Works-built USS Laboon destroyer, on Tuesday shot down a barrage of Houthi missiles and drones in the Red Sea, according to U.S. military officials.

The Laboon, F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jets and other “U.S. assets” shot down 12 attack drones, three anti-ship missiles and two land-attack cruise missiles over a 10-hour period in the southern Red Sea off the coast of Yemen, according to U.S. Central Command. The Laboon and the fighter jets belong to the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group patrolling the region as part of Operation Prosperity Guardian, a U.S.-led international coalition that has vowed to protect the Red Sea, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, from recent Houthi attacks.

The Houthis, a Shiite militia group supported by Iran, have launched more than a dozen missile and drone attacks on commercial ships, naval vessels and mainland Israel since the Israel-Hamas war began in October, according to U.S. military officials. Last month, Houthis hijacked the Israeli-linked container ship Galaxy Leader and took its 25-member crew hostage. Some of its missile and drone attacks have damaged commercial vessels, prompting several shipping companies to suspend operations in the region.

“The Yemeni Armed forces vowed to continue to prevent the navigation of vessels heading to Israel until enough food and medicine that our steadfast brothers are in need of in #Gaza are allowed into the Strip,” Houthi spokesperson Yahya Sare’e recently posted on X.

Other Hamas-supporting Iranian proxy groups have recently launched dozens of attacks on U.S. military facilities in Iraq and Syria, leading to retaliatory air strikes by the U.S. The U.S. has not publicly acknowledged any direct attacks on the Houthis, who have a fragile truce with Yemen’s Sunni majority after years of civil war. However, on Thursday, the U.S. Treasury announced sanctions against an Iran financier and money exchange houses in Yemen and Turkey, claiming they facilitated the transfer of “millions” of dollars to the Houthis at the direction of Iranian officials.

“Today’s action underscores our resolve to restrict the illicit flow of funds to the Houthis, who continue to conduct dangerous attacks on international shipping and risk further destabilizing the region,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson in a statement. “The United States, along with our allies and partners, will continue to target the key facilitation networks that enable the destabilizing activities of the Houthis and their backers in Iran.”


Last week, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced Operation Prosperity Guardian, which includes the United Kingdom, Canada, France and Italy.

“The recent escalation in reckless Houthi attacks originating from Yemen threatens the free flow of commerce, endangers innocent mariners and violates international law,” Austin said in a statement. “The Red Sea is a critical waterway that has been essential to freedom of navigation and a major commercial corridor that facilitates international trade. Countries that seek to uphold the foundational principle of freedom of navigation must come together to tackle the challenge posed by this non-state actor launching ballistic missiles and uncrewed aerial vehicles … at merchant vessels from many nations lawfully transiting international waters.

“This is an international challenge that demands collective action.”

The Laboon, commissioned in 1995 and named after Silver Star recipient John F. Laboon, shot down four more Houthi drones over the weekend. Other Bath-built destroyers, including the USS CarneyUSS Mason and USS Thomas Hudner, have also shot down Houthi missiles and drones in recent weeks.

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