USS OSCAR AUSTIN DDG 79
Bath Iron Work's first Flight IIA Arleigh Burke-class Aegis guided-missile destroyer proudly bears the name of private First Class Oscar P. Austin, United States Marine Corps. Displaying indomitable courage and selfless devotion to duty, Pfc Austin was killed on February 23, 1969, when he sacrificed his own life to save an injured companion. He has been recognized with numerous medals and decorations, including the Purple Heart, the National Defense Medal, and the Vietnam Service Medal with two bronze stars, the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, and the Medal of Honor.
The most significant change associated with Flight IIA is the addition of dual helicopter hangars aft, on either side of the after VLS. Other upgrades to the ships' aviation capabilities include addition of Recovery Assistance, Securing and Traversing (RAST) helicopter hauldown systems on the flight deck, relocation of the helicopter control station, and additional berthing for a full aviation detachment. To accommodate these changes there have been numerous other alterations, including raising the aft VLS and aft SPY-1D radar faces by one deck level, relocation of the Mk32 12.75 inch torpedo tubes, removal of the Harpoon missiles and the SQR-19 towed array, and extensive internal rearrangements around the helicopter hangars.
November 7, 1998 The Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Oscar Austin was christened and launched during a ceremony at Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine. Mrs. Dianne F. Reason, the wife of Adm. J. Paul Reason, Commander, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, served as sponsor of the ship. Cmdr. Paul C. Smith is the prospective commanding officer.
August 19, 2000 USS Oscar Austin (DDG 79) was commissioned during a ceremony at Bath, Maine.
November 30, 2001 Cmdr. John P. Cordle relieved Cmdr. Paul C. Smith as CO of the Oscar Austin.
March 3, 2002 The Oscar Austin arrived in Kiel, Germany, to participate in Operation Strong Resolve.
December 5, USS Oscar Austin departed Naval Station Norfolk for its maiden deployment, with the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Battle Group, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
March 21, 2003 Thirty U.S. Navy and coalition warships, including DDG 79, launched the Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAMs) during military operations to disarm Iraq.
May 23, USS Oscar Austin returned to homeport after nearly a six-month underway period, supporting operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom in the Mediterranean.
July 25, Cmdr. Ralph L. Tindall, III relieved Cmdr. John P. Cordle as commanding officer of the USS Oscar Austin.
June 7, 2004 The Oscar Austin is currently moored in the Polish harbor of Gydnia, to participate in 32nd annual maritime exercise Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) 2004, through June 19.
August 20, DDG 79 departed homeport to participate in the U.S. Atlantic Fleet’s annual theater Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) exercise, Smart Search ’04, starting Aug. 29 off the East Coast. This is the fourth year of the annual exercise and is headed by Commander, Task Force 84.
February 18, 2005 Cmdr. Peter C. DeMane relieved Cmdr. Ralph L. Tindall, III as the 4th CO of DDG 79.
September 1, USS Oscar Austin departed Naval Station Norfolk for a scheduled deployment, with the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Carrier Strike Group, in support of the Global War on Terrorism.
November 16, Members of Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 1 are currently leading a group of six coalition ships conducting maritime security operations (MSO) in the North Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman. The strike group’s flagship, USS Tarawa (LHA 1) and USS Cleveland (LPD 7) are joined by USS Oscar Austin.
February 16, 2006 The Oscar Austin located and assisted a distressed the Italian fishing vessel Zaira SR 2437 Feb. 14 while operating 140 nautical miles off the coast of Sicily. The destroyer was headed to Civitavecchia, Italy, the next scheduled port of call.
April 28, DDG 79 departed Norfolk to participate in Fleet Week festivities in Port Everglades, Fla. This is the ship's first trip out to sea since returning from a six-month deployment as part of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 22.
October 20, Cmdr. Eric F. Weilenman relieved Cmdr. Peter C. DeMane as CO of the Oscar Austin during a change-of-command ceremony on board the ship at Naval Station Norfolk.
April 3, 2007 The guided-missile destroyer is currently in the Atlantic Ocean conducting Tailored Ship's Training Availability (TSTA) as part of USS Harry S. Truman CSG.
May 23, DDG 79 pulled into New York City to participate in Fleet Week 2007.
November 5, USS Oscar Austin departed Norfolk for a scheduled deployment with the Truman Carrier Strike Group.
November 20, The guided-missile destroyer arrived in Palermo, Italy, for a scheduled port visit.
May 14, 2008 The Oscar Austin recently pulled into Toulon Naval Base for a port visit to France.
April 22, Cmdr. James R. Midkiff relieved Cmdr. Eric F. Weilenman as CO of the USS Oscar Austin.
June 2, The Oscar Austin moored at Naval Station Newport, R.I., for a brief stop to embark friends and family members for a Tiger Cruise.
June 4, USS Oscar Austin returned to homeport after a seven-month deployment.
December 4, USS Oscar Austin arrived in Philadelphia, Pa., to participate in the festivities surrounding the upcoming 109th Army-Navy college football game on Dec. 6.
April 29, 2009 The Oscar Austin is currently participating in an annual multi-national maritime exercise UNITAS Gold, off the coast of Florida.
October 23, Cmdr. Jeffrey J. Hoppe relieved Cmdr. Eric F. Weilenman as CO of DDG 79.
May 21, 2010 USS Oscar Austin departed Norfolk for a scheduled deployment in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet Areas of Responsibility (AoR), as part of the Harry S. Truman CSG.
June 8, The guided-missile destroyer arrived in Constanta, Romania, for a three-day port visit and to participate in a joint exercises with the Romanian Naval Forces.
November 18, USS Oscar Austin located and provided assistance to two Iranian mariners who were spotted, around 5 a.m., floating in a life raft in the Arabian Gulf, approximately 1,000 yards outside of Iranian territorial waters. The destroyer remained on scene until 12:30 p.m., when the mariners were picked up by an Iranian Coast Guard search and rescue vessel. DDG 79 is currently conducting maritime security operations under the command of Combined Task Force (CTF) 152.
December 20, USS Oscar Austin returned to homeport after a seven-month deployment.
August 25, 2011 The Oscar Austin emergency sortied from Naval Station Norfolk avoid the approaching Category 3 Hurricane Irene.
November 1?, Cmdr. Charlos D. Washington relieved Cmdr. Jeffrey J. Hoppe as commanding officer of DDG 79.
January 30, 2012 Capt. Nelson C. Castro relieved Capt. Peter C. DeMane as Commander, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 26, during a change-of-command ceremony on board the Oscar Austin at Naval Station Norfolk.
March 19, USS Oscar Austin is currently underway for a Group Sail operations as part of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) CSG.
May 2, The guided-missile destroyer is currently participating in Eisenhower CSG's Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) as part of opposition forces.
July 18, USS Oscar Austin departed Norfolk for a scheduled independent deployment in support of Operation Ocean Shield.
October 22, Cmdr. Brian J. Diebold relieved Cmdr. Charlos D. Washington as CO of the Oscar Austin during a change-of-command ceremony on board the ship at Port Louis. DDG 79 recently arrived in Mauritius for a week-long port visit.
December 31, The Oscar Austin pulled again into Port Louis for a scheduled port visit.
January 18, 2013 USS Oscar Austin recently pulled into Augusta Bay, Sicily, for a brief port call to conduct turnover with the USS Gonzalez (DDG 66).
February 9, The guided-missile destroyer pulled into Funchal, Portugal, for a brief stop at Madeira Island to refuel.
February 17, USS Oscar Austin returned to Naval Station Norfolk after a seven-month Middle East deployment.