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Fort Myers native serving aboard USS Oscar Austin

August 26, 2016
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

By Navy Office of Community Outreach

A 2015 Cypress Lake High School graduate and Fort Myers native is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the guided missile destroyer, USS Oscar Austin.

Seaman Zachary Bellows is a seaman aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer operating out of Norfolk, Virginia.

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Seaman Zachary Bellows

A Navy seaman is responsible for learning and building knowledge aboard the ship while preserving the ship's topside maintenance, driving the ship and performing duties during major evolutions like underway replenishments, small boat operations and flight quarters.

"I enjoy the hands-on activity and being able to be a part of a lot of different evolutions," said Bellows.

Commissioned in August of 2000, USS Oscar Austin measures approximately 500 feet and is powered by four gas turbines that allow the destroyer to achieve over 30 mph in open seas. Destroyers are tactical multi-mission surface combatants capable of conducting anti-air warfare, anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare, as well as humanitarian assistance. Fast, maneuverable, and technically advanced, destroyers provide the required warfighting expertise and operational flexibility to execute any tasking overseas.

"As Oscar Austin continues pre-deployment training, I am proud of the path that we are on to achieving certification excellence in our mission areas in support of our upcoming deployment," said Cmdr. Janice Smith. "I am proud of our Sailors' dedication to getting the job done and their resiliency in overcoming adversity to achieve success. We pride ourselves on being the best destroyer in the fleet and every Sailor onboard contributes to making Oscar Austin 'Ready to Fight'."

With a crew of over 300 sailors, jobs are highly specialized and keep each part of the destroyer running smoothly, according to Navy officials. The jobs range from washing dishes and preparing meals to maintaining engines and handling weaponry.

"I feel like our leadership is very trustworthy especially our commanding officer and executive officer," said Bellows. "I respect them and think they are doing a great job with the Oscar Austin."

Challenging living conditions build strong fellowship among the crew, Navy officials explained. The crew is highly motivated, and quickly adapt to changing conditions. It is a busy life of specialized work, watches, and drills.

"Serving in the Navy means a doorway to a lot more," said Bellows. "I had never thought of going to college or anything like that so the Navy has opened doors for me."



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