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USS Higgins 


USS Higgins Logo


The shield has background of blue with a "V" cutting through the center. The griffin is shown in the "V" wielding an axe and a trident. The traditional Navy colors were chosen for the shield because dark blue, white and gold respectively represent the sea, integrity and excellence. The griffin, holding an axe and a trident, denotes valor and intelligence. The axe indicates her ability and readiness for engaging land based hostilities, while the trident symbolizes her modern weapon systems, giving her air combat and undersea engagement versatility. The "V" of the shield represents victory and the clover leaf is for good fortune.


The crest consists of an anchor with swords crossing in the middle, both surrounded by wreaths. The anchor is representative of the U.S. Navy. Two wreaths, one behind and one surrounding the anchor, symbolize the military and civilian honors awarded to Colonel Higgins for some unusual achievements.


The motto is written on a scroll of gold that has a blue reverse side. The ships motto is "First to Fight". The motto is a reference to the honorable feats of Colonel Higgins and is part of The "Marines" Hymn.


The coat of arms in full color as in the blazon, upon a white background enclosed within a dark blue oval border edged on the outside with a gold rope and bearing the inscription "USS HIGGINS" at the top and "DDG 76" in the base all gold.







“As an officer of Marines, I believe it is my charge to set the example. I must create a favorable impression in courage, appearance, and personal conduct. I must be mentally alert, morally straight, and physically strong. I must uphold the personal and professional credo of ‘doing what is right even when no one is looking.’ My integrity can never be challenged and my character must be unimpeachable. My physical courage must be such that I can face the danger of combat with calmness and firmness, and my moral courage must be equal to fear of criticism I will surely face.” - Sept 1979, then Major Higgins, from an essay entitled My Credo.

Colonel William R. (Rich) Higgins, USMC, 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.

Born in Danville, Kentucky on Jan. 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 ROTC, 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 in 1973 served as a rifle company commander with B Company, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines.

From 1973 - 1977, Captain Higgins served at the Staff Noncommissioned Officers Academy and Officers Candidates 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 Mar. 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 Jul. 6, 1990. His remains were eventually recovered and interred at Quantico National Cemetery Dec. 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 Mar. 18, 1992, President George Bush awarded Col. Higgins the Presidential Citizens Medal (posthumous).





Robin L. Higgins was nominated by President George W. Bush to be Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on April 30, 2001 and confirmed by the Senate May 24, 2001.

In this role, she was responsible for the National Cemetery Administration, directing the operation and maintenance of 120 national cemeteries and overseeing other memorial-related programs, including providing headstones and gravesite markers, administering a federal grants program to states to establish state veterans cemeteries, and issuing Presidential Memorial Certificates to survivors of honorably discharged veterans.

Prior to her nomination, Mrs. Higgins served as Executive Director of the Florida Department of Veterans' Affairs, appointed by Governor Jeb Bush in January 1999. As the Governor’s chief advisor on veterans’ issues, she led the state agency responsible for providing Florida veterans and their dependents with access to federal and state benefits to which they may be entitled.

A native of the Bronx, N.Y., Mrs. Higgins earned her bachelor’s degree from State University of New York at Oneonta, and a master’s from C.W. Post College of Long Island University. She also studied at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. In May 2003 she was granted an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the State University of NY. Mrs. Higgins is a 20-year veteran of the Marine Corps, retiring as a lieutenant colonel.

Under the former 41st President Bush Administration, she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary and Acting Assistant Secretary for Veterans’ Employment and Training at the U.S. Department of Labor. While there, she served on the Department of Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee on Women Veterans and the Department of Defense’s Defense Conversion Commission.

Under the former 41st President Bush Administration, she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary and Acting Assistant Secretary for Veterans’ Employment and Training at the U.S. Department of Labor. While there, she served on the Department of Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee on Women Veterans and the Department of Defense’s Defense Conversion Commission.

Mrs. Higgins is the widow of Colonel William R. (Rich) Higgins, a Marine officer taken captive by terrorists in Lebanon in 1988, and later murdered. Since then, she has become an internationally known speaker on surviving adversity and terrorism. Her book, Patriot Dreams - The Murder of Colonel Rich Higgins was published in time for the commissioning of the USS Higgins (DDG 76), a Navy destroyer named for her husband.

Mrs. Higgins is the recipient of numerous awards, including the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs Exceptional Service Award, Marine Corps League’s Dickey Chapelle Award, American Legion Auxiliary’s Public Spirit Award, and American Academy of Physician Assistants Veterans Caucus Award. In September 2002, Mrs. Higgins left government service to pursue family and personal interests.

ABOUT THE SHIP:   DDG 51 and DDG 1000 destroyers are warships that provide multi-mission offensive and defensive capabilities. Destroyers can operate independently or as part of carrier strike groups, surface action groups, amphibious ready groups, and underway replenishment groups. Guided missile destroyers are multi-mission [Anti-Air Warfare (AAW), Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), and Anti-Surface Warfare (ASUW)] surface combatants. The destroyer's armament has greatly expanded the role of the ship in strike warfare utilizing the MK-41 Vertical Launch System (VLS).



505 Feet


59 Feet


31 Feet


8230 tons


30 plus knots


Two SH-60 Seahawk


4 General Electric LM 2500-30 gas turbine engines; 2 shafts, 100,000 shaft horsepower total




Steel hull, steel superstructure


Standard Missile (SM-2MR); Vertical Launch ASROC (VLA) missiles; Tomahawk®; six MK-46 torpedoes (from two triple tube mounts); Close In Weapon System (CIWS), 5” MK 45 Gun, Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) (DDG 79 AF)


LOCATION: Fort Lauderdale, FL 
USS Higgins (DDG 76) Logo
USS Higgins (DDG 76)

UNIT 100188 BOX 1
FPO AP 96667


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