USS Higgins returns from deployment
SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A San Diego-based guided-missile destroyer that served
with the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz in the Western Pacific and Middle East
returned home Monday morning following a lengthy deployment.
The USS Higgins and its crew of 250 left Jan. 14 and, according to the
Navy, conducted several exercises and theater security operations while at sea.
The vessel also made port call in Palau, Singapore, Bahrain, the United Arab
Emirates, Thailand, Japan, Guam and Pearl Harbor.
“I am continually grateful for the effort my crew displayed this
deployment,” Cmdr. Nicole L. M. Shue, the Higgins' skipper, said before the
ship's return. “The dedication and professionalism they put forth daily
reaffirms their commitment to their country and the naval service. They have
worked incredibly hard, and we are looking forward to reuniting with our loved
ones back here in San Diego.”
During a port visit to Nagoya, Japan, Higgins' sailors helped clean the
grounds at a local orphanage, the Navy said. While in Thailand, several sailors
helped rebuild a school damaged by a tropical storm.
The sailors also hosted midshipmen from the U.S. Naval Academy and
students from other universities as part of a summer training program.
The ship is named in honor of Marine Col. William R. Higgins, who was
captured in Southern Lebanon by Hezbollah militants on Feb. 17, 1988, while
serving as chief of Observer Group Lebanon as part of a U.N. peacekeeping
His captors held the 45-year-old Higgins hostage, tortured him and
eventually killed him, releasing a videotape a year-and-a-half after his
abduction showing him hanging by the neck. His remains were found on a Beirut
Street on Dec. 23, 1991, and interred at Quantico National Cemetery seven days
The warship named after Higgins was christened by his widow, Robin, on
Oct. 4 1997, and commissioned on April 24, 1999.