The guided-missile destroyer USS Oscar Austin (DDG 79) departed Naval Station Norfolk, on May 20, for a two-month deployment to the North Atlantic and the Baltic Sea.
“It is an honor to command USS Oscar Austin as we set sail to the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations to enhance maritime security and conduct exercises with our allies in the spirit of Partnership for Peace,” said Cmdr. Brian J. Diebold, the ship’s commanding officer. “My crew is trained, motivated, and ready to execute all missions to enhance regional interoperability with our partner nations.”
Oscar Austin is scheduled to participate in a bilateral exercise with the Royal Norwegian Navy before joining the U.S. 6th Fleet flagship USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20) for exercise Baltic Operations 2014 (BALTOPS 14).
BALTOPS 14 is a joint and combined maritime exercise conducted in the spirit of Partnership for Peace (PFP) in order to promote mutual understanding, confidence, cooperation and interoperability among participating nations in the Baltic region.
“This is an outstanding opportunity that our ship would not normally get to take part in, but we are all excited,” said Fire Controlman 2nd Class Caitlin Bastein. “I think it will be a great learning experience and give Sailors perspective on other navies and countries, and it is truly an honor to have been selected to represent the U.S. overseas.”
Oscar Austin returned from her last deployment in February 2013. In 2013, the crew completed an intensive maintenance availability and pre-deployment work-ups, flexing all warfare areas. Assessments were conducted both in port and underway to ensure all systems were operationally ready and that the crew was properly trained for each mission area.
The ship was commissioned Sept. 18, 1993, named after Medal of Honor recipient, Pfc. Oscar P. Austin, United States Marine Corps. Austin earned the Medal of Honor in Vietnam in a fierce fire fight with North Vietnamese forces.
U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts a full range of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation missions in concert with coalition, joint, interagency, and other partners in order to advance security and stability in Europe and Africa.
Press Release, May 21, 2014, Image: US Navy