USS Oscar Austin heads to 5th and 6th fleet areas of operation

13News Now Mike Gooding has the story

NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- Surface warfare, air warfare, undersea warfare, humanitarian missions.

The crew of the USS Oscar Austin is ready for all of the above.

"Exactly, and that is why we spend the last months training, repairing and upgrading the ship, and getting certified in a wide variety of mission areas, so that we're ready to answer any and every call globally," said Commander Janice Smith, commanding officer.

The Arliegh Burke Class guided missile destroyer and crew of 380 enlisted sailors and officers shipped out of Naval Station Norfolk Monday morning, not as part of a large strike group, but, on an independent deployment.

The crew is well aware that their fellow guided missile destroyer, USS Ross and USS Porter, were assigned to launch Tomahawk cruise missiles on Syria earlier this month.

The captain did not want to speculate on what the future could hold for her sailors, but, left no doubt they can handle anything that comes their way.

"I can't discuss specifics, but I'll let you know, Oscar Austin is ready to conduct every tasking," said Smith.  "We're ready to answer the call."

For the families left behind, there was a mixture of feelings. Pride. But sadness that their sailors were leaving.

"I will be happier when she is returned," said Debbie Littles, mother of an Oscar Austin sailor.

Fernand Reed is married to a master chief on the ship. "Twenty two years we've been going though this," he said. "A lot of deployments, doesn't get any easier."

This is being billed as a 7-month-long deployment, meaning, that if everything goes according to plan, the Oscar Austin and crew should be home in Hampton Roads sometime in November.

© 2017 WVEC-TV


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