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DDG 76 Higgins

The Higgins was commissioned on April 24, 1999. Higgins is a Flight II Arleigh Burke Class Guided Missile Destroyer, the fifteenth built by bath iron works in bath, Maine. Bath iron works, known as BIW, has a long and distinguished shipbuilding tradition. Higgins is a Pacific Fleet Ship, San Diego, CA is her home port.

She deployed to WESTPAC in early 2001.


USS Higgins arrived at Sydney, Australia March 9, 2004 for a well-earned rest following an active deployment to the War On Terrorism. During the visit, the more than 300 Sailors will have a chance to meet local citizens, experience local customs and traditions, sightsee, shop and enjoy the many recreational activities offered in Sydney. The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer recently completed operations in the Arabian Gulf as part of a multi-national force supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Crest and Shield

The ship's crest and shield were designed to honor the memory of Col. William "Rich" Higgins, USMC and to signify the power of the warship that bears his name. Dark blue and gold are traditional colors of the Navy, symbolizing the sea and excellence.

The griffin, denoting valor and intelligence, holds an axe that indicates HIGGINS' readiness and ability to engage in land-based hostilities. The griffin and the trident symbolize the modern weapons systems HIGGINS possesses, which will give her the versatility of air combat and undersea engagements. The "V" form of the pile signifies victory and recalls the Combat "V" awards earned by Col. Higgins. White denotes integrity; gold symbolizes excellence. The cloverleaf stands for good fortune.The crest's anchor represents the Navy. Two wreaths symbolize the many military and civilian honors awarded Col. Higgins and signify unusual achievement. The Naval officer's sword and the mameluke emphasize the longstanding tradition of cooperation between the Navy and the Marine Corps in both peacetime and war, and recall Col. Higgins' outstanding service to his country as a Marine.

William R. Higgins

USS HIGGINS is named in honor of Colonel William R. (Rich) Higgins, USMC, who disappeared on Feb. 17, 1988, while serving as the Chief, Observer Group Lebanon and Senior Military Observer, United States Military Observer Group, United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (Palestine).

Born in Danville, Kentucky, on January 15, 1945, Rich Higgins graduated from Southern High School in Louisville and earned his bachelor's degree from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. A scholarship student in the Navy Reserve Officers Training Corps, he received the Marine Corps Association Award and was commissioned in the Marine Corps in 1967. He later obtained a master's degrees from Pepperdine University and Auburn University. He graduated from the Army Infantry Officers Advanced Course, the Air Force Command and Staff College, and the National War College.

As a lieutenant, he participated in combat operations during 1968 with C Company, 1st Battalion, 3d Marines in the Republic of Vietnam as a rifle platoon commander and rifle company executive officer, and was aide-de-camp to the Assistant 3d Marine Division Commander. In 1969 Lt. Higgins served at Headquarters Marine Corps and in 1970 as the Officer-in-Charge of the Officer Selection Team in Louisville, Kentucky.

Captain Higgins returned to Vietnam in 1972 as an infantry battalion advisor to the Vietnamese Marine Corps, then served as a rifle company commander with C Company, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines. From 1973 to 1977, Captain Higgins served at the Staff Noncommissioned Officers Academy and Officer Candidate School, both in Quantico, Virginia.

Returning to the Fleet Marine Force in 1977, Capt. Higgins was assigned to the 2d Marine Division at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, where he again served as a rifle company commander with A Company, 1st Battalion, 2d Marines. Upon promotion to major, he was reassigned as the Logistics Officer for Regimental Landing Team 2, 4th Marine Amphibious Brigade.

After completion of the Air Force Command and Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base in 1980, designated a distinguished graduate, he returned to Washington where he served at Headquarters as a Plans Officer until his selection to the Office of the Secretary of Defense. During 1981 and 1982, he served as Military Assistant to the Special Assistant to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense, then as Assistant for Interagency Matters to the Executive Secretary for the Department of Defense. After graduation from the National War College in 1985, he returned to the Pentagon as the Military Assistant to the Secretary of Defense, where he served until he was transferred to his United Nations assignment in July 1987. He was promoted to colonel on March 1, 1989.

After being held captive by pro-Iranian terrorists in Lebanon, Col. Higgins was murdered. The exact date of death is uncertain, however, he was declared dead on July 6, 1990. His remains were eventually recovered and interred at Quantico National Cemetery on December 30, 1991.

Col. Higgins' military decorations include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (posthumous), Bronze Star with combat "V," Purple Heart (posthumous), Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal with bronze star and combat "V," Combat Action Ribbon, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with silver star, Staff Service Honor Medal, United Nations Medal, and numerous unit commendations and campaign ribbons. On March 18, 1992, President George Bush awarded Col. Higgins the Presidential Citizens Medal (posthumous).

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 01:54:55 ZULU