Tactical

USS Oscar Austin readying for a move to Spain in fall 2024

The destroyer Oscar Austin is expected to arrive in Rota, Spain next fall as part of the Navy’s broader plan to bolster its destroyer presence in Europe from four to six vessels.

“The Oscar Austin should be here September, October ‘24,” Capt. Teague Suarez, Naval Station Rota’s commanding officer, said in a townhall earlier this month.

This March, a team from Rota will head to Norfolk, Virginia where the Oscar Austin is currently based, to brief family members and help them understand what to expect upon arrival in Spain, Suarez said.

“We should probably start to see some of those families showing up late spring, early summer,” Suarez said, noting that this will give the families time to settle in prior to the school year beginning.

Another ship, which Suarez didn’t identify, will arrive in 2026, bringing Rota’s destroyer fleet up to six ships.

They will join the destroyers Arleigh Burke, Roosevelt, Paul Ignatius and Bulkeley that are already in Rota as part of Forward Deployed Naval Force-Europe. Those destroyers have the flexibility to operate throughout the waters of Europe and Africa, from the Cape of Good Hope to the Arctic Circle, according to the Navy.

The Navy first announced in 2022 that the destroyer presence in Rota would expand. Although the service said that Russian provocations didn’t prompt the move, the announcement came after five East Coast destroyers completed a surge deployment earlier in the year to the Italy-based U.S. 6th Fleet to provide additional flexibility and support to the command and NATO allies.

The Oscar Austin, which the Navy commissioned in 2000, is named after Medal of Honor and Purple Heart recipient Private 1st Class Oscar P. Austin, who served in the Vietnam War.

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