USS Oscar Austin returns home to Norfolk

Posted at 9:54 AM, Jul 10, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-10 17:20:37-04

Norfolk, Va. (WTKR) - The USS Oscar Austin returned home to Norfolk Friday following an 8-month deployment.

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer completed an independent deployment in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility.

While deployed, the ship conducted maritime security operations and provided theater security cooperation efforts.

"We really saw that we made a difference from the time that we went over last time to now, a lot of things are getting better, stability in the area is better and it’s good to see that," Commander Russ Sanchez, Commanding Officer of the USS Oscar Austin said Friday after the ship returned.

The Oscar Austin left her Norfolk homeport on November 21, the week before Thanksgiving.

"I'm stoked. It's been a long time since I’ve seen my husband. It's hard but when you love somebody you'll do anything," Desiree White explained as she waited for the "first kiss" from her husband, Petty Officer Second Class Cody White.

"It’s amazing to be back. Its best feeling. This is Christmas, New Years, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day, my anniversary all rolled into one," explained Lt. Robert Floyd.

Prior to deploying, the Oscar Austin participated in USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) Amphibious Ready Group (ARG)/24th Marine Expeditionary Unit's (MEU) Composite Training Unit Exercise.

During that exercise, the crew earned their Independent Deployer Certification.

That certification assesses a ship's capabilities to function at tactical and operational levels, according to the Navy.