USS Higgins returns from action-packed deployment

US Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Higgins (DDG 76) wrapped up a seven-month deployment to the 5th and 7th Fleet areas of operation, returning to its homeport of San Diego on June 21.

US Navy file photo of USS Higgins

While deployed, Higgins conducted security, stability, and freedom of navigation operations, observed foreign military exercises, and participated in coalition operations.

Higgins sailors were kept busy throughout their deployment in the Middle East and Asia Pacific.

The destroyer took part in the US and ally strike on Syrian chemical facilities in April this year, launching a total of 23 Tomahawk missiles.

Roughly a month later, the crew were in the South China Sea for a freedom of navigation operation near the Paracel Islands claimed by China. Higgins was part of what was likely the first time the US Navy had sent two warships to challenge China’s claims in the South China Sea. The other ship was cruiser USS Antietam (CG-54).

“The unrelenting effort and focus my team of warriors displayed fills me with pride,” said Cmdr. Victor Garza, Higgins’ commanding officer. “We are excited to rejoin our San Diego community and especially our loved ones who have carried out the missions on the home-front during our absence.”

Lt. Col. Robin Higgins, retired Marine Corps officer and widow of the ship’s namesake Col. Rich Higgins, embarked the ship as it entered the San Diego harbor to celebrate the homecoming with the crew.

USS Higgins (DDG 76) is part of Naval Surface Forces and US 3rd Fleet which leads naval forces in the Pacific.