By Lt. j.g.
Chelsea Heard
USS Oscar Austin Public Affairs
The Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS Oscar Austin (DDG 79) returned to its homeport at Naval Station Norfolk following a seven-month deployment to 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operations, Nov. 17.
Oscar Austin left April 17 as an independent deployer supporting operations in the 5th and
6th Fleet Areas of Responsibility as well as theater security cooperation efforts in the Black
Sea, North Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, Gulf of Aden, and the Baltic Sea.
"During this diverse deployment we were faced with a variety of missions located all over the world," said Cmdr. Samantha Dutily, Oscar Austin's commanding officer. "USS Oscar Austin is comprised of an incredible group of Sailors who performed admirably over the past seven-months."
During Oscar Austin's 214 days on deployment, the ship traveled 51,370 nautical miles through three oceans, navigated eight straits and chokepoints and conducted 29 replenishments-at-sea with four different navies.
Oscar Austin and her crew visited 13 ports including Rota, Spain; Souda Bay, Greece; Constanta, Romania; Varna, Bulgaria; Haifa, Israel; Theoule-Sur-Mer, France; Haakonsvern, Norway; Stockholm; Eckernfoerde, Germany; Brest, France; Faslane, U.K.; Oslo, Norway; and Ponta Delgada, Azores.
While in theater, Oscar Austin conducted joint operations with more than 20 nations, participated in multiple high-level theater security cooperation events, executed anti- submarine warfare operations, and accomplished several multi-warfare exercises to include: Exercise Reliant Mermaid, Exercise Aurora, and two other exercises all while ensuring maritime security.
Embarked aboard Oscar Austin was a detachment of 'Grandmasters' from Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 46, who logged 725 flight hours in support of anti- submarine and surface warfare operations between two MH-60R Seahawk helicopters.
During a port visit to Brest, France, the crew held a change of command ceremony where
Dutily relieved Cmdr. Janice G. Smith as commanding officer.
The deployment's personnel highlights included four Sailors promoting to the next pay grade; 122 qualifying as enlisted surface warfare specialists; 12 qualifying as enlisted air warfare specialists; and 11 qualifying as surface warfare officers. Five Sailors also became proud new fathers.
"The Sailors on this deployment represented the highest traditions of the United States Navy," said Command Master Chief Kim Feroni. "They have made me, their country, and Pfc. Oscar P. Austin's legacy extremely proud."
"Every Sailor on this deployment made a huge contribution to the success of the ship's mission," Dutily said. "I am proud of each and every one of them and I am honored to be their captain."