In a socially distanced change of command ceremony, Cmdr. Matthew I. Krull relieved Cmdr. Wesley A. Brown as commanding officer, USS Oscar Austin (DDG 79) today at Naval Station Norfolk.
“It has been an absolute honor to have sailed with you and to have been your captain,” said Brown in addressing the crew. “You have embraced the hard work; you have done it smartly and you have done it together. Your fighting spirit and dedication to each other have inspired me every single day in command. I know Pfc. Oscar Austin would be proud too.”
Also honoring the crew and their performance was the ceremony’s guest speaker Rear Adm. Brad Cooper, commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic.
“To the crew of Oscar Austin, I am so very proud of your hard work, your achievements, and the sacrifices you’ve made,” Cooper said. “When I speak of elite performance as our North Star, your example sets the standard. I challenge every one of you to keep your foot on the gas and continue to excel. Lastly, and most importantly, I look forward to hearing one prolonged blast from DDG 79. Oscar Austin will be back to sea in 2021!”
As the ship was in the midst of its previous deployment, Brown reported aboard as executive officer, in August 2017. He assumed command in May 2019 and led Oscar Austin through the ship’s mid-life Depot Modernization Period to upgrade her with the latest combat systems suite.
Krull’s previous sea duty assignments include tours on USS Carr (FFG 52) as electrical and auxiliaries officer and USS Cole (DDG 67) as navigator. His department head assignment was aboard USS Momsen (DDG 92) as weapons and combat systems officer.
In remarks to the crew, Krull thanked Brown for his steady leadership and vision, noting the legacy of success the former commanding officer leaves behind. He also expressed his excitement in being the one to help write the next chapter in the ship’s life.
Oscar Austin is the first Flight IIA Arleigh Burke-class, guided-missile destroyer and proudly bears the name of Pfc. Oscar P. Austin, United States Marine Corps. Displaying indomitable courage and selfless devotion to duty, Pfc. Austin was killed near Da Nang, Vietnam, Feb. 23, 1969, when he sacrificed his own life to save an injured companion. Austin was recognized with numerous medals and decorations, including the Medal of Honor; Purple Heart; National Defense Medal; Vietnam Service Medal with two bronze stars; and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.