WAVY’s Navy Ship Salute is a feature on WAVY News 10 Today. Each month, in partnership with the U.S. Navy, WAVY-TV 10 will profile a different ship based at the world’s largest Navy base: Naval Station Norfolk. The series aims to better introduce our viewers to some of the largest floating taxpayer assets there are, as well as life aboard a U.S. Navy ship.

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – USS Oscar Austin is a Arleigh Burke Class Destroyer that was first commissioned in 2000. Built at Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine, it is the first destroyer to have helicopters on board.

The ship was named after Private First Class Oscar Austin of the U.S. Marine Corps. Austin was killed in 1969 near DaNang, Vietnam when he he took a shot for a fellow Marine. Austin was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions. The ships crest has references to the U.S. Marine Corps.

USS Oscar Austin is 510 feet long and has 329 sailors serving onboard. She’s powered by four General Electric LM 2500-30 gas turbines, which turn two propellers totaling more than 100,000 horsepower.

The ship can cruise at an excess of 30 knots, something it had to do earlier this year when it was one of the ships dispatched to help with the takedown of the Chinese surveillance balloon.

The ship hasn’t been deployed in five years. In 2018, a fire occurred while the ship was in BAE Systems Ship Repair facility in Norfolk. Since then sailors stationed on the ship have helped to rebuild her according to Cmdr. Bryan Wolfe, commanding officer of USS Oscar Austin.

“That means we upgraded all of our weapons systems, and after all that, we went underway and tested all of our gear. It’s called combat system qualification trials,” Wolfe said.

Next week, the ship will get underway to perform NATO exercises “overseas.”

Training is constant on board.

In fact, new sailors are put through what is known as “the Crucible.” It includes an egress drill from the sleeping berths where sailors are blindfolded and must deal with smoke and loud noise.