The guided-missile destroyer USS Higgins left San Diego on Monday on a deployment to the Western Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean and Middle East.

Guided missile destroyer USS Higgins exits San Diego Bay, passing a hotel with signs related to Comic-Con. U.S. Navy photo

The ship passed high-rises festooned with signage related to Comic-Con.

But to some, the real superheroes are the ones shipping out.

While on interdiction operations in the Gulf of Oman a dozen years ago, the Higgins received a report of a distressed vessel from a coalition maritime patrol aircraft and responded immediately.

“Higgins located the disabled vessel, rescued the three Pakistani mariners onboard, and coordinated their tow back to port via the Iranian Coast Guard,” the Navy said.

On Sept. 11, 2005, while in the Southern Arabian Gulf, Higgins came to the rescue of an injured Iraqi fisherman who suffered wounds from a pirate attack.

“After bringing the injured fisherman aboard, Higgins corpsman determined that surgery was required and the fisherman was airlifted to USS Nimitz for further medical attention. The fisherman survived the surgery and was released when he returned to stable condition.”

The Navy reported that the Higgins and its crew of more than 300 sailors will maintain the Navy’s presence in the region and conduct goodwill activities with partner nations.

The Higgins provides anti-air, anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare capabilities and can operate independently or with an associated strike group.

“I am extremely pleased with our crew,” said Cmdr. Allen Johnson, the vessel’s commanding officer. “They have proven themselves throughout a rigorous year-long training cycle and are fully capable to perform the mission tasking that we will be assigned.”

The 16-year-old ship is named for Marine Col. William “Rich” Higgins, a Vietnam veteran who was kidnapped by terrorists in 1988 in Lebanon and later killed.

The Higgins last deployed two years ago.

— City News Service contributed to this report.

Show comments