USS HIGGINS
DDG 76
  
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The Higgins (DDG 76) is the U.S. Navy's 26th Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer and is named in honor of Colonel William R. (Rich) Higgins, USMC, who was kidnapped 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). In August 1989, a cell linked to Hizbullah murdered him in response to the IDF kidnapping of Sheikh Abdul Karim Obeid, a senior cleric and leader of the guerrilla group who was involved in the kidnapping. His body was dumped, over a year later, on a Beirut side street.

The keel was laid down on November 14, 1996, at Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine; The ship was launched and christened on October 4, 1997. Mrs. Robin Higgins, the widow of Col. William Higgins, served as sponsor of the ship. Cmdr. James L.T. Smith is the prospective commanding officer.

March 26 ,1999 The Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Higgins departed Bath, Maine, for the last time, for a Dependent's Day Cruise to Portland, Maine; Underway in the Gulf of Maine from March 29-30; Initial ammo onload at Naval Weapons Station Earl, N.J., from April 1-2; Port call to Naval Station Norfolk from April 5-12; Brief visit to Naval Station Mayport on 17th.

April 24, USS Higgins was commissioned during a ceremony at Port Everglades, Fla.

April 27, The Higgins underway for Combat Systems Ship's Qualifications Trials (CSSQT) and a transit to San Diego, Calif.

April 30, DDG 76 pulled into Naval Station Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico, for a three-day port call. Another stop to refuel from May 6-7; Anchored off Cartagena, Colombia, from May 10-14.

May 16, The guided-missile destroyer moored at Rodman Naval Base in Balboa, Panama, to refuel after transiting Panama Canal on May 15. Port visit to Mazatlan, Mexico, from May 26-29.

June 1, USS Higgins arrived at its homeport of Naval Station San Diego for the first time.

July 19, The Higgins pulled into Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, for a brief port call to take on fuel and supplies before conducting Air and Undersea Warfare testing in the Barking Sands OPAREA, off Kauai. Another visit to Pearl Harbor from Aug. 2-6; Anchored off Lahaina, Maui, from Aug. 6-9; Departed Pearl Harbor Aug. 10.

August 19, USS Higgins pulled into Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego, to offload ammunition. Underway for Leaders to Sea program from Aug. 21-24.

August 24, DDG 76 moored at Broadway Pier in downtown San Diego to serve as a backdrop for a Kenny Loggins concert. Returned to Naval Station San Diego on Aug. 25.

September 2, The guided-missile destroyer moored to Deperm Pier on NSB Point Loma in San Diego for a two-week magnetic deperming. Underway for a Family Day Cruise on Sept. 15.

September 20, USS Higgins entered the Southwest Marine shipyard for a three-month Post Shakedown Availability (PSA). In dry-dock from Oct. 5-20; Underway for sea trials from Dec. 7-8; Ammo onload at Seal Beach from Dec. 15-16.

From January 24-28, 2000, the Higgins was underway for routine training in the southern California Op. Area. Underway for Command Assessment of Readiness and Training (CART) II on Feb. 7; Port visit to San Francisco, Calif., from Feb. 11-14.

February 17, USS Higgins arrived at Naval Surface Warfare Center in Port Hueneme, Calif., for a four-day visit to upgrade its hardware and software systems. Underway for CART II from Feb. 28- March 3; Underway for a Tailored Ship's Training Availability (TSTA) A on March 27.

March 31, DDG 76 arrived in Vancouver, B.C., Canada, for a three-day port visit. Underway for TSTA B from April 27-28; May 1-5; and 9-12th; Ammo onload at Seal Beach from May 15-18; Underway for Final Evaluation Problem (FEP) from May 22-24.

June 2, Cmdr. William R. Ault relieved Cmdr. James L.T. Smith as CO of the Higgins. Underway for NSFS spotter services from June 6-9.

August 1, USS Higgins pulled into Naval Station Everett, Wash., for an overnight stay before participating in Seattle Sea Fair from Aug. 2-7; Underway for ASW exercise from Sept. 5-8; Underway for a Family Day Cruise on Sept. 11 after a three-day magnetic deperming at Naval Submarine Base Point Loma; Ammo onload at NWS Seal Beach from Sept. 26-28; Underway for Middle East Force Exercise (MEFEX) Phase II from Oct. 2-11.

November 9, USS Higgins departed San Diego, along with USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) and USS Hewitt (DD 966), for its maiden western Pacific deployment.

November 15, The guided-missile destroyer pulled into Pearl Harbor for a three-day port call. Port visits to Sydney (Nov. 29- Dec. 4) and Bunbury, Australia, (Dec. 12-17).

December 31, The Higgins arrived in Manama, Bahrain, for a scheduled port visit to celebrate the New Year.

November 2, 2002 USS Higgins departed Naval Station San Diego for a scheduled deployment, as part of USS Constellation (CV 64) Battle Group, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

December 1, DDG 76 pulled into Changi Naval Base for a six-day visit to Singapore.

March 21, 2003 Thirty U.S. Navy and coalition warships, including the Higgins, currently assigned to Naval Forces Central Command AoO, launched Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAMs) in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

April 24, Cmdr. Randy Hill relieved Cmdr. Mike Gilday as CO of the USS Higgins during a change of crew and command ceremony in Singapore. Hill’s crew, the former crew of USS Benfold (DDG 65), is now the crew of the Higgins. Gilday’s crew will return soon to San Diego and take over the Benfold, fully completing the first ever crew swap cycle of Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers. The former Benfold crew arrived in Singapore April 16 and following four days of liberty and the arrival of DDG 76 on April 20, began the turnover process.

September 16, U.S and Kuwaiti naval forces concluded the annual security exercise Eager Mace 2003 in early September, off the coast of Kuwait. The month-long schedule of events consisted of precision tactical maneuvering and visit, board, search and seizure demonstrations. The Higgins was the centerpiece of the U.S. component of the exercise.

October 17, The third crew exchange in the Navy’s Sea Swap program took place recently in Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates, when USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) crew members donned USS Higgins ballcaps and commenced their deployment after relieving USS Benfold crew members aboard the Higgins’ hull. After the swap, team Benfold crew members flew back to San Diego to man the hull of the John Paul Jones.

March 9, 2004 USS Higgins pulled into Sydney, Australia, for a scheduled port visit.

April 4, USS Higgins returned to San Diego after more than a 16-month deployment in support of Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and Maritime Interdiction Operations (MIO).

May 6, 2005 USS Higgins departed homeport, as part of USS Nimitz (CVN 68) Carrier Strike Group, for a scheduled deployment in support of the Global War on Terrorism.

October 2, The Higgins pulled into Goa, India, after completing the second at-sea phase of the Malabar exercise.

November 8, USS Higgins returned to Naval Base San Diego after a six-month deployment in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet AoR. The ship visited several ports, including Hong Kong; Sepangar, Malaysia; Jebel Ali, U.A.E.; and Phuket, Thailand.

In the second half of January 2006, The Higgins conducted Mobility-Navigation and Seamanship (MOB-N and MOB-S) training while transiting to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, for a three-day port visit.

September 30, The guided-missile destroyer is currently participating in San Diego Fleet Week Sea and Air Parade.

October 7, DDG 76 arrived in San Francisco, Calif., to participate in Fleet Week 2006 celebration.

November 9, Cmdr. Jeffrey P. Menne relieved Cmdr. Jesse A. Wilson as the 7th CO of USS Higgins.

March 2, 2007 The Higgins completed the Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX), as part of USS Nimitz (CVN 68) CSG.

April 2, USS Higgins departed San Diego for a scheduled Middle East deployment.

May 8, Capt. Adam Levitt, Commodore, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 23, relieved Cmdr. Jeffrey P. Menne "due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command." Capt. Roy Kitchener, Commander, Carrier Strike Group 11 is currently serving as the acting CO.

May 23, The Higgins arrived in Arabian Gulf to conduct Maritime Security Operations (MSO).

June 2, U.S. and Saudi Arabian forces concluded exercise Nautical Union 2007 in the Arabian Gulf June 2. USS Higgins trained with Saudi Arabian forces during the eight-day exercise, which focused on improving regional cooperation and efficiency in maintaining stability in the U.S. 5th Fleet Area of Operation.

September 30, USS Higgins returned to homeport after a six-month deployment.

January 24, 2008 USS Higgins departed Naval Base San Diego for a surge western Pacific deployment, as part of USS Nimitz Carrier Strike Group.

February 14, DDG 76 departed Apra Harbor, Guam, after a three-day port call.

February 28, The guided-missile destroyer pulled into Pohang, Republic of Korea, for a scheduled port visit.

June 3, USS Higgins returned to San Diego after a four-month underway period.

The Higgins underwent its first Drydocking Selected Restricted Availability (DSRA) in the British Aerospace Engineering’s San Diego shipyard over the summer.

December 12, Cmdr. Carl W. Meuser relieved Cmdr. F. Winton Smith Jr. as commanding officer of USS Higgins. The guided-missile destroyer pulled into San Francisco for a brief port visit before returning to homeport after participating in a Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) exercise in the Gulf of Alaska.

July 16, 2009 USS Higgins departed Naval Base San Diego for a scheduled deployment.

September 6, DDG 76 pulled for the second time in Haifa, Israel, for a brief port call. In just a few weeks, additional Aegis vessels will arrive here to participate in the biennial Juniper Cobra missile defense exercise that the IDF has been holding with the US European Command (EUCOM) and Missile Defense Agency since 2001. This year's drill, scheduled for mid-October, is being described as the largest joint exercise ever held by the countries. The Higgins reported on station in the Mediterranean Sea, Sept. 1, following completion of a normal western transit, which included consecutive operations in the 3rd, 7th, and 5th Fleets. She is one of 15 guided-missile destroyers, fitted with the full Aegis BMD capability in the U.S. Navy, allowing them to detect, track and engage enemy ballistic missiles. By the end of Fiscal Year 2010, the U.S. Navy will have 21 BMD-capable Aegis ships, and is building towards 32 ships in 2015.

September 12, USS Higgins departed Split, Croatia, after a scheduled port visit.

September 25, The Higgins is currently participating in a multinational exercise Jackal Stone 2009, with nine other partner nations, off the coast of Croatia.

November 25, USS Higgins arrived in Bodrum, Turkey, for a four-day port visit.

November 30, The guided-missile destroyer pulled into Souda Bay, Greece, for a routine port call.

January 14, 2010 USS Higgins arrived off the coast of Haiti to provide afloat logistical services for the Coast Guard helicopters after a magnitude-7.0 quake devastated the nation Tuesday afternoon.

February 3, USS Higins returned to San Diego after six-and-a-half month around-the-world deployment.

January 18, 2011 The Higgins departed homeport for a Friends and Family Day Cruise.

January 20, USS Higgins departed Naval Base San Diego for an independent deployment to the U.S. 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility (AoR).

February 25, The guided-missile destroyer arrived in Maldives in support of the U.S. Navy's agreement to provide maritime domain awareness (MDA) to the Maldives Coast Guard. USS Higgins recently visited Phuket, Thailand.

May 18, The Higgins is currently participating in a multi-national training exercise Iron Siren with United Arab Emirates Marines, in the Arabian Gulf. The ship recently departed Jebel Ali, U.A.E., after a port visit to Dubai.

August 12, DDG 76 anchored in Victoria Harbor for a scheduled port visit to Hong Kong.

August 21, The Higgins pulled into Apra Harbor, Guam, for a brief port call.

September 7, USS Higgins returned to San Diego after seven-and-a-half month deployment. While in the Central Command AoO, the ship was assigned to Command Task Group Iraqi Maritime and participated in oil platform defense of Al Basra Oil Terminal. Higgins also participated in multiple exercises operations with coalition partners including Operation Goal Keeper, a multi-national exercise with Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, U.A.E., and Qatar; and a mine countermeasure and surface combatant exercise Arabian Gauntlet.

December 2, Cmdr. Andrew F. Carlson relieved Cmdr. Rome Ruiz as CO of the Higgins during a change-of-command ceremony at NBSD. Cmdr. Ruiz was the commanding officer since June 11, 2010.

June 29, 2012 The guided-missile destroyer pulled into Pearl Harbor for the in-port phase of a multi-national exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2012. Underway on July 10.

October 1, USS Higgins arrived in Naval Base Ventura County, Port Hueneme, Calif., for a four-day visit to Naval Surface Warfare Center to conduct combat and weapon system assessment, in preparation for a Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) and Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX), with the USS Nimitz Carrier Strike Group, from Oct. 17 through Nov. 12.

January 14, 2013 USS Higgins departed Naval Base San Diego for a scheduled deployment as part of the Nimitz CSG. The aircraft carrier will deploy later this Spring due to emergent repairs to its cooling pumps.

From Jan. 20-23, the Higgins participated in an Undersea Warfare Exercise (USWEX) 13-1 in the Hawaiian Op. Area.

February 4, DDG 76 anchored in Malakal Harbor for a five-day port visit to Koror, Republic of Palau.

February 15, USS Higgins moored at Changi Naval Base in Singapore for a four-day port call.

From March 24-25, the Higgins participated in a joint air and surface exercise with Destroyer Squadron 50, USS Green Bay (LPD 20), USS Sirocco (PC 6), USS Chinook (PC 9), USS Whirlwind (PC 11) and several United States air assets, in the Arabian Gulf.

April 15, The guided-missile destroyer recently pulled into Jebel Ali, U.A.E., for a liberty visit to Dubai.?

May 26, USS Higgins moored at Khalifa Bin Salman Port (KBSP), Bahrain, for a four-day port call.

May 28, Cmdr. Nicole L. M. Shue relieved Cmdr. Andrew F. Carlson as CO of the Higgins during a change-of-command ceremony on board the ship.

June 17, USS Higgins arrived again recently in Bahrain for a liberty port visit.

August 8, The Higgins anchored in Makham Bay for a five-day port visit to Phuket, Thailand.

August 23, DDG 76 moored outboard the USS Antietam (CG 54) at Berth 7, Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan, for a 10-day port call.

September 4, USS Higgins moored at Berth 7, Yatomi Pier in Port of Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, Japan, for a week-long port visit.

September 16, The guided-missile destroyer recently pulled into Apra Harbor, Guam, for a routine port call.

October 7, USS Higgins returned to homeport after a nine-month deployment in the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet AoR.

November 17, The Higgins recently moored at Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach, Calif., for ammo offload.

December ?, DDG 76 moored at Huntington Ingalls Industries Continental Maritime of San Diego shipyard for a five-month Selected Restricted Availability (SRA).