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Navy warship named for Miami grad
The most advanced warship in the U.S. Navy bears the name of a 1967 Miami University graduate.
The USS Higgins, a guided missile destroyer named for Marine Corps Col. William R. "Rich" Higgins, was commissioned April 24 in Fort Lauderdale. Higgins was captured in 1988 and later murdered by terrorists in Lebanon while serving as an observer for the United Nations.
Robin and Christine Higgins, Col. Higgins' widow and daughter, respectively, spoke at the dedication, which was attended by 5,000 spectators. Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Marine Gen. Charles Wilhelm, commander-in-chief of the Pentagon's Southern Command, also spoke at the ceremony.
Miami's Navy ROTC Color Guard took part in the ceremony.
"One of the highest honors that can be bestowed upon an American is to be the namesake of a Navy warship," said Julie Welter, a senior majoring in psychology and member of Miami's NROTC. "The USS Higgins will ensure that Col. Higgins' sacrifice is not forgotten."
A photo of the Beta Bells hangs in the ship's wardroom, a "constant reminder of Miami's contribution to our national defense," Welter said.
The USS Higgins, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, is worth $800 million. It is 504 feet long, weighs 8,300 tons and carries a of crew 329. The ship's main role is to protect other Navy ships from air attacks. It is also capable of attacking land and sea targets, including submarines.
For additional information, contact Capt. R. H. DeJaegher, commanding officer of Miami NROTC, at (513) 529-3700.