One of the two U.S. Navy warships moving toward the Libyan coast in the wake of an attack that killed America's ambassador was named for a Bend High graduate and Navy SEAL killed in action in Panama 23 years ago.
Two U.S. officials told CNN the ships were the destroyers USS Laboon and the USS McFaul. Both ships are equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles that could be used if a strike was ordered. Tomahawks are satellite-guided cruise missiles that can be programmed to hit specific targets.
"These ships will give the administration flexibility," a senior official said, if the administration orders action against targets in Libya.
The USS Laboon was making a port call in Crete, a few hours from Libya, when it was ordered to reposition. The USS McFaul was outside the Strait of Gibraltar, a few days sail from Libya, and is headed to the Libyan coast.
The US Navy typically keeps up to four Aegis-equipped missile warships ships in the eastern Mediterranean to aid in defending Israel and missile defense for southern Europe. The McFaul and Laboon were part of that deployment.
The USS McFaul (DDG-74) is an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer named for Chief Petty Officer Donald L. McFaul, a Navy SEAL who was killed in action on Dec. 20, 1989, while serving in Panama. The ship was commissioned in 1998.
McFaul, a Bend Senior High graduate, was awarded a posthumous Navy Cross for attempting to rescue a platoon mate at the cost of his life.
Veterans activist Dick Tobiason said McFaul was named a Distinguished Alumnus of Bend High. He is also honored at the Bend Heroes Memorial with his name engraved on the veterans granite monument.