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DDG 79 Oscar Austin

The Arleigh Burke Aegis destroyer Oscar Austin (DDG 79) was commissioned on August 19, 2000.

DDG 79 has two hangar bays for helicopter support - a new install to the destroyer which increased her length by 5-feet and enables the addition of an aircrew compliment on deployment. Ninety-six vertical launch tubes and vast amounts of updated technology establish Oscar Austin as a true leader in at sea innovation.

The Baseline 6 Combat System, the first ever installed on an Arleigh Burke Aegis destroyer, was used extensively while monitoring the many weapons systems fired during the training.

Inside the steel skin of the ship was yet another system being tested that could revolutionize damage control in the fleet. The Automated Common Diagram (ACD) and Tach 4 monitors, located in Oscar Austin's damage control central (DCC) and all its repair lockers, controls all fire mains, valves and power supplies on the ship that can be opened and closed from any of the ACD terminals.

The Oscar Austin took part in Exercise Strong Resolve '02 in the Baltic Sea.

Oscar P. Austin

The ship is named in honor of Pfc. Oscar P. Austin, born January 15, 1948, in Nacogdoches, Texas and grew up in Phoenix, Arizona. He graduated from Phoenix Union High School in 1967, and enlisted in the United Stated Marine Corps in April the following year. Upon completion of Basic Training, Austin was promoted to Private First Class in October 1968. He was transferred to the Republic of Vietnam where he served as an assistant machine gunner with Company E, Second Battalion, Seventh Marine, First Division (Rein), and FMF.

During the early morning hours on February 23, 1969, Pfc Austin's observation post came under a fierce ground attack by a large North Vietnamese Army force using a heavy volume of hand grenades, satchel charges and small arms fire. Observing that one of his wounded companions had fallen unconscious in a position dangerously exposed to hostile fire, Austin unhesitatingly left the relative security of his fighting hole and, with complete disregard for his own safety, raced across the fireswept terrain to drag the marine to safety. As he neared his companion, he observed an enemy grenade land nearby. Leaping between the grenade and the injured marine, Austin took the full force of the explosion himself. Although he was badly injured, Austin turned to help his fallen companion and saw a North Vietnamese soldier aiming a weapon at the unconscious man. With full knowledge of the probable consequences, Austin threw himself between the injured marine and the hostile soldier. In doing so, he was mortally wounded. It is fitting that the first Flight IIA AEGIS Destroyer is named for Pfc Oscar Austin, a soldier whose courage and gallantry in the face of certain death exemplified the highest standards of the United States Marine Corps and the United States Navy.

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.



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