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Commander, Naval Surface Forces Atlantic

USS Oscar Austin Completes Successful Sea Trials

by Ens. Lauren Grun, Collateral Duty Public Affairs Officer
28 February 2022

220217-N-OW182-1741 NAVAL STATION NORFOLK (February 17, 2022) The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Oscar Austin (DDG 79), returns to port after completion of a successful four-day sea trials (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jacob Milham/Released)
SLIDESHOW | 4 images | Oscar Austin Completes Successful Sea Trials 220217-N-OW182-1741 NAVAL STATION NORFOLK (February 17, 2022) The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Oscar Austin (DDG 79), returns to port after completion of a successful four-day sea trials (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jacob Milham/Released)
 The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Oscar Austin (DDG 79) returned to Naval Station Norfolk following completion of a successful four-day sea trials, Feb. 17, 2022. This underway was one of the ship’s final requirements to rejoin the operational fleet following an extended maintenance and modernization period.
 
Due to the duration of the ship’s modernization, a majority of the Sailors onboard had never been underway on Oscar Austin but still prepared for the ship’s return to sea. The Sailors built and maintained their shipboard skills and proficiency using a mix of classroom training, simulators, and time on other ships. 
 
“The Oscar Austin team showed superb resilience, technical skill, and professionalism in this highly anticipated return to sea following an extended availability,” said Capt. Stefan Walch, commodore of Destroyer Squadron Two.
 
The unique nature of the ship’s maintenance and modernization period allowed Oscar Austin’s Sailors to do more of their own repairs and modernization than is typically seen in standard shipyard periods.  This also meant that the ship did not have the normal contingent of shipyard workers onboard for sea trials, instead relying on the ship’s crew and a small group of government experts in order to safely operate during sea trials. 
 
Having seen the entire maintenance timeline since reporting in 2018, Cryptologic Technician (Technical) 1st Class Joshua Cowles, a native of Albuquerque, N.M., remarked, “Finally going underway was satisfying to say the least. There is job satisfaction.”
 
The nearly week-long underway testing event included precision anchorage events and testing of the ship’s anchor, validation and calibration of navigation equipment, testing and data collection on the ship’s main engines and electrical power plant.
 
Despite the cold winter weather in the Atlantic Ocean, with lookouts and deck division Sailors dressed in warm-weather ‘pumpkin suits,’ the crew grew from individual watch standers and system experts, into a cohesive team.
 
“It was interesting, for others it was a ‘finally’ moment, for me it was a step in my career,” said Hospital Corpsman Courtney Shaw, a native of Mentor, Ohio. "I like when you can't see anything for miles. It puts everyone's skills to the test because there is no one to help, it is just you."
 
According to Cmdr. Matthew Krull, the ship’s commanding officer, Oscar Austin’s crew flourished during sea trials, using the at sea period as a culmination of their hard work and training. 
 
“It’s inspiring to sail with this team,” said Krull. “The crew’s hard work and dedication got us to this point and seeing our team overcome challenges and repair critical systems while at sea, operating one of the most complex systems in the entire military is just incredible.”
 
Throughout the underway, Sailors spoke of the pride they had in their ship and how valuable the chance to go to sea was. “It has been easily the most I've ever learned in a three-day period,” said Ens. Amanda McCurry, a native of Jacksonville, N.C.
 
Throughout sea trials the crew learned and re-learned how to live and operate at sea, getting into a rhythm with watches and special evolutions, and for the first time in quite a while, learning to manage potable water, laundry, food preparation, trash disposal, and communication home - the often overlooked but vital components of life at sea.
 
As Oscar Austin moored on Feb. 17, the planning and preparation is already underway for their next return to sea.
 
"I'm incredibly amazed [with sea trials],” said Damage Controlman 3rd Class Tristan Rice, a native of Canal Winchester, Ohio. “Now I don't see why we can't do two weeks, or even more.”


 
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