By Michele Stevens Bernard, TSB Lifestyle Editor
The family of McKinney High alumnus Alexander Louis Baylog was among the crowd of loved ones waving goodbye as the USS Oscar Austin (DDG79) departed Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia on July 18, 2012. The guided-missile destroyer, under the leadership of Commander Charlos Washington, is deployed to the U.S. 6th Fleet Area of Operations. OS2 Baylog, along with the rest of the 300-member crew is charged with monitoring the Baltic and Mediterranean seas, as well as the coast of Africa. Deployment is slated to last seven months.
After graduating from MHS in 2004, Baylog attended Lakeland Community College and the University of Akron before enlisting in the United States Navy. Recently promoted to the rank of Operations Specialist Second Class, Baylog is charged with maintaining communication links with other ships and aircraft in the vicinity of the ship. When not on deployment he is stationed in Norfolk, Virginia.
Baylog is the son of Louis and Julie Baylog of McKinney, and brother to Hannah Smith and husband Tanner Smith, also of McKinney. Brother John Andrew Baylog and wife Samantha are residents of Denton. He is the grandson of The late Richard Baylog and Connie and Lloyd Knapp, and Mary Alice Andrews. His grandfather, the late Edward Andrews was also a Navy man.
The USS Oscar Austin (DDG 79) is named for Private First Class Oscar P. Austin, of the United States Marine Corps, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for sacrificing his life to save an injured companion. According to the Navy, the ship is the first in the Flight IIA class of destroyers equipped with the AEGIS Weapons Systems. Designed to incorporate shaping techniques to reduce radar detectability and likelihood of being targeted, she excels in high-threat areas, anti-air, anti-submarine, anti-surface, and strike operations.
As it was proclaimed by the City of McKinney and entered into the Congressional Record of the 112th Congress, Second Session, every Friday in McKinney is Red Shirt Friday. On each Friday in the month of August, 2012, in honor of McKinney’s hometown hero, OS2 Alexander Baylog, and in gratitude for the 300-member crew of the USS Oscar Austin, the Town Square Buzz Foundation and the citizens of McKinney, Texas wear their Red Shirts in gratitude for your service. Thank you, and best wishes for a safe deployment.
The TownSquareBuzz Foundation is a non-profit organization supporting veterans, service members and their families in North Texas. As the philanthropic arm of TownSquareBuzz.com, the mission of the Foundation is to engage residents and raise community awareness about the unique needs of military families and service members by directing resources to support and improve their overall well-being.
McKinney’s Red Shirt Friday initiative is local to the national Red Shirts Friday campaign. The TownSquareBuzz Foundation sells Red Shirts to be worn each Friday in honor of those who serve. Red Shirts can be purchased for $10. To order online, click here. All proceeds benefit the Community Lifeline Center to provide short-term services directly to veterans in Northern Collin County.
Photos courtesy of Julie Baylog