The U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, USS Oscar Austin (DDG-79) has participated in a personnel exchange with the Lithuanian Vidar-class minelayer LNS Jotvingis (N42) on Sept. 25.
Two Sailors from each ship embarked on their foreign counterpart’s ship for a day at sea, referred to in naval terminology as crossdecking, to strengthen the enduring relationship with Lithuanian naval forces, and as an opportunity to learn about the culture of each other’s navies.
After a ride in Jotvingis’ rigid-hull inflatable boat (RHIB) across the Baltic Sea, Oscar Austin Sailors climbed aboard Jotvingis and were led to the ship’s bridge where they were introduced to Commanding Officer Lt. Jevgenij Vidiajev.
Vidiajev and the Jotvingis’ Executive Officer Lt. Arunas Katauskas provided a warm welcome to Ensign Wilman Martinez and Ship’s Serviceman 3rd Class Jesus Rodriguez, the two Oscar Austin Sailors chosen to tour the Lithuanian ship. After a gift exchange, Vidiajev and Katauskas gave the Oscar Austin Sailors a glimpse into the day-to-day operations of the ship’s bridge.
Following the tour of the bridge, the two Oscar Austin Sailors were led through various engineering, weapons, and crew spaces by Lt. Julius Dziaugys, the ship’s chief engineer. Dziaugys explained the interworkings of the ship’s mine laying capabilities, elaborated on the functionality of the ship’s main engines, and toured the ship’s mess areas, providing a glimpse into the daily life of a Lithuanian sailor.
Following the tour of Jotvingis, the Oscar Austin Sailors were treated to refreshments in the officer’s mess while waiting for their ride from Oscar Austin to come and pick them up.
As a RHIB full of American Sailors arrived alongside Jotvingis, the interoperability between the two navies was apparent. Although they were navigating rough seas and a language barrier, the personnel transfer went off without a hitch and the Oscar Austin Sailors safely returned to their ship.