Knotts Island native successfully completes tour as commanding officer of USS Cincinnati

Knotts Island native successfully completes tour as commanding officer of USS Cincinnati

Capt. Douglas Meagher relieved Capt. Spencer Austin, a native of Knotts Island, North Carolina, following a successful tour as commodore of Mine Division TWELVE during a ceremony aboard Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Cincinnati (LCS 20), April 27. Meagher will dual-hat as commodore of both Surface Warfare Division ELEVEN and Mine Warfare Division TWLEVE.

Austin led his division staff and seven crews aboard the division’s four ships. During his command, USS Manchester (LCS 15), USS Tulsa (LCS 16) and USS Charleston (LCS 18) all embarked on their maiden deployments, while Cincinnati served as the division’s training ship for the off-hull crews.

As commodore, Austin provided subject matter expertise and fostered innovation within his division to advance the mine countermeasures capabilities aboard Independence-variant LCS and for the U.S. Navy. He coordinated with multiple stakeholders across his two years in command to shepherd the all-important testing of the LCS MCM Mission Package that achieved Initial Operational Capability during his tenure.

“Independence-variant LCS are deploying regularly and in force; they are the future of the U.S. Navy’s mine warfare capabilities,” said Austin. “My division staff and crews have worked tirelessly to deploy multiple hulls over-the-horizon for more than a year at a time to defend a free and open Indo-Pacific. I could not be more proud to have served alongside them.”

Prior to LCS Maintenance Execution Teams (MET) shift to the Southwest Regional Maintenance Center, Austin employed the Mine Division TWELVE MET to complete dozens of expeditionary Preventative Maintenance Availabilities for Independence-variant LCS throughout the Indo-Pacific including locations such as Australia, Guam, Japan, and Singapore. These expeditionary PMAVs enabled the ships to participate in combined operations like Rim of the Pacific 2022, Garuda Shield 2022, and La Pérouse 2023.

“From his selection for early command of multiple Avenger-class mine countermeasures ships to his most recent tour as Mine Division Twelve’s commodore, Spencer Austin has honed his skills and craft in support of the U.S. Navy’s mine countermeasure capabilities,” said Capt. Marc Crawford, commodore of Littoral Combat Ship Squadron ONE. “His leadership, innovation and expertise will be sorely missed in the LCS and mine warfare communities.”

Mine Division TWELVE, located on Naval Base San Diego and nested within Littoral Combat Ship Squadron ONE, is the operational and administrative support for four Independence-variant LCS and seven crews. Littoral Combat Ships are fast, optimally manned, mission-tailored surface combatants that operate in near-shore and open-ocean environments, winning against 21st-century coastal threats. LCS integrate with joint, combined, manned and unmanned teams to support forward-presence, maritime security, sea control, and deterrence missions around the globe.