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San Diego-Based USS Higgins To Return Home

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A San Diego-based guided-missile destroyer that deployed with the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz to the Western Pacific and Middle East is scheduled to return home on Monday, the Navy announced today.

The USS Higgins and its crew of 250 conducted several exercises and theater security operations while at sea, according to the Navy. The vessel also made port visits to 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,'' said Cmdr. Nicole L. M. Shue, the commanding officer. "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."

The sailors also hosted midshipmen from the U.S. Naval Academy and other universities as part of a summer training program.

Commissioned in 1999, the ship is named in honor of Marine Col. William R. Higgins, who disappeared Feb. 17, 1988, while serving as chief of the Observer Group Lebanon and senior military observer of the U.S. Military Observer Group, United Nations Truce Supervision Organization as part of a U.N.

peacekeeping mission.

His remains were eventually recovered and his body was interred at Quantico National Cemetery on Dec. 30, 1991.