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Higbee DD- 806 - History

Higbee DD- 806 - History

Higbee

Lenah S. Higbee, first woman to receive the Navy Cross while still living, was born 18 May 1874 in Chatham, New Brunswick, Canada. After completing nurses' training at New York Postgraduate Hospital in 1899 and further training at Fordham Hospital, she engaged in private practice until entering the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps 1 October 1908. Widow of the late Lieutenant Colonel John Henley Higbee, USMC, Mrs. Higbee became Chief Nurse 14 April 1909 and second commandant of the Nurse Corps 20 January 1911. For her World War I service she received the Navy Cross 11 November 1920. Mrs. Higbee retired from the Nurse Corps 30 November 1922 and died 10 January 1941 at Winter Park, Fla. She is buried beside her husband at Arlington National Cemetery.
Higbee (DD-806; dp. 2,425 i 1. 390'6": b. 41'1"; dr, 18'6" i B, 35 k., cpl. 367, a. 6 5", 12 40mm., 11 20mm., 10 21" tt., 6 dcp., 2 dct.; cl. Gearing)

Higbee (DD-806) was launched 13 November 1944 by the Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine; sponsored by Mrs. A. M. Wheaton, sister of the late Mrs. Lenah S. Higbee and commissioned 27 January 1945, Comdr. Lindsay Williamson In command.

Higbee immediately sailed to Boston, where she was converted to a radar picket destroyer. After shakedown in the Caribbean, she sailed for the Pacific 24 May, joining the famed Carrier Task Force 38 less than 40.0 miles from Tokyo Bay 19 July. "Leaping Lenah," as she had been dubbed by her crew, screened the carriers as their planes launched heavy air attacks against the Japanese mainland until the end of hostilities 15 August. She helped clear Japanese mine fields and supported the occupation forces for the following 7 months, finally returning to San Diego 11 April 1946. The post-war years saw Higbee make two peacetime Western Pacific cruises as well as participate in fleet exercises and tactical training maneuvers during both these cruises and off the West Coast. On her second WestPac cruise, Higbee escorted the heavy cruiser Toledo as they paid official visits to the recently constituted governments of India and Pakistan in the summer of 1948.

When Communist troops plunged into South Korea in June 1950, Higbee, redesignated DDR-S06 16 March 1951. was immediately deployed to the Korean coast with the 7th Fleet. Most of her Korean War duty came in screening the Fast Carrier Task Force 77 as their jets launched raids against Communist positions and supply lines. On 15 September she formed part of the shore bombardment and screening group for the brilliant amphibious operation at Inchon. Higbee returned to San Diego 8 February 1951. In two subsequent stints in Korea, she continued to screen the carrier task force and carry out shore bombardment of enemy positions. In order to protect against the possibility of Communist invasion of Nationalist China, Higbee also participated in patrol of Formosa Straits. Returning to the States 30 June 1953, she entered the Long Beach yard for a 6-month modernization which saw minor structural alterations made, including an enlarged Combat Information Center, new height-finding radar, and an improved antiaircraft battery.

The radar picket destroyer's peacetime duty then fell into a pattern of 6-month WestPac cruises alternating with upkeep and training out of San Diego. Operating with the 7th Fleet on her WestPac cruises, Highbee visited Australian and South Pacific ports frequently as well as engaging in fleet maneuvers with units of SEATO navies. Her home port was changed to Yokosuka, Japan, 21 May

1960. From there Higbee continued to cruise in the Pacific and along the China coast to strengthen American force in Asia and show her determination to protect democracy against the inroads of Communism. After 2 years duty in Japan, Higbee returned to her new home port, San Francisco, 4 September 1962. On 1 April 1963 the destroyer entered the shipyard there for a fleet rehabilitation and modernization overhaul designed to improve her fighting capabilities and lengthen her life span as an active member of the fleet. Higbee was redesignated DD 806 on 1 June 1963.

Ready for action 3 January 1964, Higbee trained on the West Coast until departing for Japan 30 June and reached her new homeport, Yokosuka, 18 July. During the Tonkin Gulf Incident in August, the destroyer screened carriers of Task Force 77 in the South China Sea. In February 1965. Higbee supported the 9th Marine Brigade at Danang, Vietnam. In May she participated in Gemini recovery in the Western Pacific. On 1 September Higbee helped to rescue the crew from Arsinoe after the French tanker had grounded off Scarborough Shoals in the South China Sea. The remainder of September was spent in naval gunfire support off South Vietnam.

While operating northeast of Luzon in late January 1966, Higbee sighted Russian hydrographic ship Gidrifon. Returning to South Vietnam in April, Higbee ,sighted enemy positions near Cape St. Jacques and the mouth of the Saigon River. On 17 June she departed Yokosuka for the West Coast, arrived Long Beach, her new home port, 2 July and operated out of there into 1967.

Higbee earned one battle star for her service in World War II and seven battle stars for her service in the Korean War.


The table below contains the names of sailors who served aboard the USS Higbee (DD 806). Please keep in mind that this list does only include records of people who submitted their information for publication on this website. If you also served aboard and you remember one of the people below you can click on the name to send an email to the respective sailor. Would you like to have such a crew list on your website?

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There are 83 crew members registered for the USS Higbee (DD 806).

Select the period (starting by the reporting year): precomm &ndash 1969 | 1970 &ndash now

NameRank/RatePeriodDivisionRemarks/Photo
Woodley, Mike (Woody)MM31970 &ndash 1972M- DivisionWas a trip!
Palm, John W. "Bill"STG1Jan 1970 &ndash May 1975WA (ASW)
Murphy, EdwardFTG2Feb 15, 1970 &ndash Apr 16, 1973WGI WAS ON THE FIRE CONTROL RADAR WHEN THE MIG HIT.
Lindberg, Peter (Grizzley)MM 3May 6, 1970 &ndash Jul 15, 1971engineeingPick up ship in Bankok,sailed to Subic , Hong Kong, Japan cruised the gun line, Plane guard for the carriers.Had a great time time with a great crew.
Ward, William Or BillMM3Jun 20, 1970 &ndash Oct 29, 1973engineeringworked both forward and after engine rooms was a member of repair team two for GQ have great memories of time served on the leapin lena
Gilleland, DonaldGMG2Oct 16, 1970 &ndash Jan 5, 1972G
Stephens, DennisBT21971 &ndash 1974
Kilgore, KevinBM31971 &ndash 1972DeckRight gun Powderman on Mt 52 at Dong Hoi
Gardzinski, Stanleysk3Jan 1, 1971 &ndashs-1
Jerome, Jerrye-3/seamanJan 25, 1971 &ndash Aug 9, 1974WD divisionI served on the Higbee in Long beach, Ca(which was our homport) and I made alot of friends.
Ezell, Allen (Easy)SMSNMar 1971 &ndash 1973Operations OC)Some of the best times in my life were spent with the guys of the Higbee..Well wishes to you all where ever you are
Ferris, Steveen2Jun 6, 1971 &ndash Aug 1, 1972a
Artiaga (Arte), GilbertSK3Sep 22, 1971 &ndash Apr 22, 1974Supply
Springs, BillyE2Oct 1971 &ndash Apr 19, 1972Mount 52, Upper handling roomWounded during the Battle of Dong Hoi.
Martinez, JamesE3 sometimes ha haNov 15, 1971 &ndash Mar 7, 1973deckTrying to find Roger Eby,Artie,JOHNSON BJ. Smitty Kim Jensen. Billy Springs. All you thugs I loved I am still in Pacific a, Santa Cruz where are you. DUDUS. Artie a. Roman was the 1st class. Brashears the Chief On cal
Paulsen, DannyQM21972 &ndash 1973OEOnly onboard a year, on the Tonkin Bay Gun LIne at cease fire
Jones, Billbm3Jan 1972 &ndash Dec 1973deck
Eby, Rogere2Jan 2, 1972 &ndash Feb 2, 1973commisary
Berlinger, Steve ftgsnAug 29, 1972 &ndash Sep 30, 1973wgthinking about the good times on the Higbee
Spangler, BillSnSep 1972 &ndash 1973First
Russell, CalvinE1Sep 1972 &ndash Sep 1972machines mate
Vess, James /rickyBM3Sep 1, 1972 &ndash Jun 5, 1975WD
Miller, DanStorekeeperMar 1973 &ndash Aug 1976SupplyGreat time. Ordering supplies and playing a lot of cards. Being in dry dock in Seattle.
Day, Robert/bobBM2Apr 1973 &ndash May 1977WDWas BM2 while aboard Uss Higbee . Stayed in until 1992 made Chief MAC (SW) knew Jerome Jerry and Mark and John Nuremberg brothers Snake elleson,BM 2 Bernie SN Radford BMC Herra. and a few others contact me 4063967575
Burton, EarnieSH2Oct 1, 1973 &ndash Oct 1, 1976SupplyCrossdecked from decommed USS Dehaven(DD727). Operated ship's laundry, barbershop, and ship's store. Homeported @Pier 91, Seattle (although we saw VERY LITTLE of Seattle). "Haze gray and underway!"
Day, Robert / BobBM2Mar 1974 &ndash May 1978WD
Roesch, Dave RoachMm3Mar 15, 1974 &ndash Nov 11, 1977MJust trying to reach out to those who might still be out there would like to here from you give me a holler
Fuller, RogerBM31975 &ndash 1979deck 1stStill keep in touch with a few Higbee sailors, mike radford, tom johns, dennis mcdonough, trying to find smitty again. want to locate others. PS. I stuck around, made chief and retired in Charleston, SC. And am still raising snakes.
Wheeler, Michaelmm2Mar 1975 &ndash Jun 11, 1978m-divHey to all the Higbeeites left out there, liove in Lake Stevens, in the book, love to hear from you!!
Artman, Dick Nickname RexFN MM3Apr 14, 1975 &ndash Sep 10, 1976main eng roomnone to say hi to you
Ashley, JohnEM 2Jun 1975 &ndash Feb 1977E Divgood ship
Donaldson, Paule 3Jul 9, 1975 &ndash Aug 18, 1979b div i would like to talk with Higbee members
Smith, Vincent (Smitty)SASep 1, 1975 &ndash Jun 24, 1977WDI am still here. I live in Port Orchard, WA. I am married to Nancy, bought a home and living happily in retirement. Would love to hear from you and catch up. Smitty
Phillips, VicMM3Dec 1975 &ndash Mar 1976MI was temdu awainting nuke school. Good memories. For those who may remember, I still have that Takamine 12-string!
Hawks, Thomas Boiler Technician1976 &ndash 1978EngineeringI kinda miss those days.
Browning, Thomas (Yom)FAJan 1976 &ndash Sep 18, 1979Engineer
Bergmann, Mark QM3Aug 1976 &ndash Jun 1978NavigationAfter leaving in 1978 I taught school for 33 years in Vancouver, WA, raised a family and am now the Director of Guest Services at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Oregon.
Henderson, DaleE-4Aug 8, 1976 &ndash Jul 27, 1979operations/intelligence
Heyer, KentFTG2Jun 1977 &ndash Aug 1978Weapons
Laverne, Marc sr / fc11978 &ndash 1978deckwas on board in seattle in the reserves till decom.
King, Robert [bob]MM3Jun 15, 1985 &ndash Jun 15, 1987M divisionI had fun and enjoyed the time with the crew phone number 425-745-6902 cell 425-268-7226 please leave a message

Select the period (starting by the reporting year): precomm &ndash 1969 | 1970 &ndash now


Higbee immediately sailed to Boston, where she was converted as a radar picket destroyer. After shakedown in the Caribbean, she sailed for the Pacific on 24 May, joining the famed Carrier Task Force 38 less than 400 miles from Tokyo Bay 19 July. &ldquoLeaping Lenah,&rdquo as she had been dubbed by her crew, screened the carriers as their planes launched heavy air attacks against the Japanese mainland until the end of hostilities on 15 August. She helped clear Japanese minefields and supported the occupation forces for the following seven months, finally returning to San Diego on 11 April 1946. The post-war years saw Higbee make two peacetime western Pacific cruises as well as participate in fleet exercises and tactical training maneuvers during both these cruises and off the West Coast. On her second WestPac cruise, Higbee escorted the heavy cruiser Toledo as they paid official visits to the recently constituted governments of India and Pakistan in the summer of 1948.

Higbee was redesignated DDR 806 on 18 March 1949.

When Communist troops plunged into South Korea in June 1950, Higbee was immediately deployed to the Korean coast with the Seventh Fleet. Most of her Korean War duty came in screening the Fast Carrier Task Force 77 as their jets launched raids against Communist positions and supply lines. On 15 September, she formed part of the shore bombardment and screening group for the brilliant amphibious operation at Inchon.

Higbee returned to San Diego on 8 February 1951. In two subsequent stints in Korea, she continued to screen the carrier task force and carry out shore bombardment of enemy positions. In order to protect against the possibility of Communist invasion of Nationalist China, Higbee also participated in patrol of Formosa Straits.

Returning to the States on 30 June 1953, she entered the Long Beach yard for a six-month modernization, which saw major structural alterations including an enlarged Combat Information Center, new height-finding radar and an improved antiaircraft battery.

The radar picket destroyer&rsquos peacetime duty then fell into a pattern of six-month WestPac cruises alternating with upkeep and training out of San Diego. Operating with the Seventh Fleet on her WestPac cruises, Higbee visited Australian and South Pacific ports frequently as well as engaging in fleet maneuvers with units of SEATO navies.

Her home port was changed to Yokosuka, Japan on 21 May 1960. From there Higbee continued to cruise in the Pacific and along the China coast to strengthen American force in Asia and show her determination to protect democracy against the inroads of communism. After two years duty in Japan, Higbee returned to her new home port, San Francisco, on 4 September 1962. On 1 April 1963, the destroyer entered the shipyard there for a fleet rehabilitation and modernization (FRAM) overhaul designed to improve her fighting capabilities and lengthen her life span as an active member of the fleet.

H igbee was redesignated DD 806 on 1 June 1963.

Ready for action on 3 January 1964, Higbee trained on the West Coast until departing for Japan on 30 June and reached her new homeport, Yokosuka, on 18 July. During the Tonkin Gulf incident in August, the destroyer screened carriers of Task Force 77 in the South China Sea.

In February 1965, Higbee supported the 9th Marine Brigade at Danang, Vietnam. In May, she participated in Gemini recovery in the western Pacific. On 1 September, Higbee helped to rescue the crew of Arsinoe after the French tanker had grounded off Scarborough Shoals in the South China Sea. The remainder of September was spent in naval gunfire support off South Vietnam.

While operating northeast of Luzon in late January 1966, Higbee sighted Russian hydrographic ship Gidrifon. Returning to South Vietnam in April, Higbee bombarded enemy positions near Cape St. Jacques and the mouth of the Saigon River. On 17 June she departed Yokosuka for the West Coast, arrived Long Beach, her new home port on 2 July and operated out of there into 1967, when she was refitted at Mare Island.

On 19 April 1972, Higbee became the first US warship to sustain bomb damage during the Vietnam War, when one of two North Vietnamese Air Force MiG-17s destroyed her after 5-inch gun mount with a 250 kg bomb. Four sailors were wounded. The second MiG-17 bombed the light cruiser USS Oklahoma City (CLG 5), causing minor damage. In return, Sterett (DLG 31) launched a Terrier surface-to-air missile, which destroyed one of the MiGs.

Higbee was decommissioned and struck from the Navy list on 15 July 1979. She was sunk as a target on 24 April 1986, around 130 nmi (240 km 150 mi) west of San Diego at 32°28&prime0.4&PrimeN 119°58&prime0.7&PrimeW.


Higbee DD- 806 - History

International radio call sign:
November-Hotel-Lima-Lima
Tactical call sign: Truck
Builder: Bath Iron Works, Bath, ME
Laid down: June 26 1944
Launched: November 12 1944
First commissioned: January 27 1945
Last decommissioned: July 15 1979
Struck: July 15 1979
Fate: Sunk as a target April 24 1986 32° 28' 0.4" North,
119° 58' 0.7" West .

USS Higbee (DD/DDR-806) was a Gearing-class destroyer in the United States Navy during World War II. She was the first U.S. warship named for a female member of the U.S. Navy, being named for Chief Nurse Lenah S. Higbee (1874–1941), a pioneering Navy nurse who served as Superintendent of the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps during World War I.

Higbee was launched 13 November 1944 by the Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine sponsored by Mrs. A. M. Wheaton, sister of the late Mrs. Higbee and commissioned on 27 January 1945, Commander Lindsay Williamson in command.

Higbee immediately sailed to Boston, where she was converted to a radar picket destroyer. After shakedown in the Caribbean, she sailed for the Pacific on 24 May, joining Carrier Task Force 38 less than 400 miles from Tokyo Bay on 19 July. "Leaping Lenah", as she had been dubbed by her crew, screened the carriers as their planes launched heavy air attacks against the Japanese mainland until the end of hostilities on 15 August. She helped clear Japanese mine fields and supported the occupation forces for the following seven months, finally returning to San Diego on 11 April 1946. The post-war years saw Higbee make two peacetime Western Pacific cruises as well as participate in fleet exercises and tactical training maneuvers during both these cruises and off the West Coast. On her second WestPac cruise, Higbee escorted the heavy cruiser Toledo (CA-133) as they paid official visits to the recently constituted governments of India and Pakistan in the summer of 1948.

When Communist troops plunged into South Korea in June 1950, Higbee, redesignated DDR-806 on 18 March 1949, was immediately deployed to the Korean coast with the 7th Fleet. Most of her Korean War duty came in screening the Fast Carrier Task Force 77 as their jets launched raids against Communist positions and supply lines. On 15 September she formed part of the shore bombardment and screening group for the amphibious operation at Inchon. Higbee returned to San Diego on 8 February 1951. In two subsequent stints in Korea, she continued to screen the carrier task force and carry out shore bombardment of enemy positions. In order to protect against the possibility of Communist Chinese invasion of Nationalist China, Higbee also participated in patrol of Formosa Straits. Returning to the States on 30 June 1953, she entered the Long Beach Yard for a six-month modernization which saw major structural alterations made, including an enlarged Combat Information Center, new height-finding radar, and an improved anti-aircraft battery.

The radar picket destroyer's peacetime duty then fell into a pattern of six-month WestPac cruises alternating with upkeep and training out of San Diego. Operating with the 7th Fleet on her WestPac cruises, Higbee visited Australian and South Pacific ports frequently as well as engaging in fleet maneuvers with units of SEATO navies. Her home port was changed to Yokosuka, Japan, on 21 May 1960. From there Higbee continued to cruise in the Pacific and along the China coast to strengthen American force in Asia. After two years duty in Japan, Higbee returned to her new home port, San Francisco, on 4 September 1962. On 1 April 1963 the destroyer entered the shipyard there for a fleet rehabilitation and modernization (FRAM) overhaul designed to improve her fighting capabilities and lengthen her life span as an active member of the fleet. Higbee was redesignated DD-806 on 1 June 1963.

Ready for action on 3 January 1964, Higbee trained on the West Coast until departing for Japan on 30 June and reached her new homeport, Yokosuka, on 18 July. During the Gulf of Tonkin Incident in August, the destroyer screened carriers of Task Force 77 (TF 77) in the South China Sea. In February 1965 Higbee supported the 9th Marine Brigade at Da Nang, Vietnam. In May she participated in Project Gemini recovery in the Western Pacific. On 1 September Higbee helped to rescue the crew from Arsinoe after the French tanker had grounded off Scarborough Shoals in the South China Sea. The remainder of September was spent in naval gunfire support off South Vietnam. On the return voyage to home port, the ship saw short duty as Station Ship Hong Kong. While in Hong Kong, Princess Margaret was piped aboard the ship. While operating northeast of Luzon in late January 1966, Higbee sighted the Soviet hydrographic ship Gidrifon. Returning to South Vietnam in April, Higbee bombarded enemy positions near Cape St. Jacques and the mouth of the Saigon River. On 17 June she departed Yokosuka for the West Coast, arrived Long Beach, her new home port, on 2 July and operated out of there into 1967. In November 1966, Higbee and her squadron had R&R in Acapulco, Mexico, where Bob Hope did an unscheduled servicemen's show for the crews. The first half of 1967 was spent in the yards at Mare Island for a major refit before returning to the Vietnam theater. On 19 April 1972 Higbee became the first US warship to be bombed during the Vietnam War, when two VPAF (also known as the NVAF-North Vietnamese Air Force) MiG-17s from the 923rd Fighter Regiment attacked, one of which, piloted by Le Xuan Di, dropped a 250 kilogram (500 lb) bomb onto Higbee's rear 5-inch gun mount, destroying it.

The 5-inch gun crew had been outside their turret, due to a misfire within the mount, when the air attack occurred, which resulted in the wounding of four US sailors. The second MiG-17 flown by Nguyen Van Bay went on to bomb the light cruiser USS Oklahoma City, causing only minor damage.

Although there were no official aircraft losses reported by either side during the aerial attack, witnesses aboard accompanying USN vessel's deploying defensive measures, claimed one of the attacking MiGs with a hit by a surface-to-air missile fired from the cruiser USS Sterett.

Higbee's first peacetime duty was as a member of Destroyer Squadron 27 homeported in Long Beach, California. Her later years (after May, 1975) were spent as a Naval Reserve Force destroyer homeported in Long Beach, CA and Seattle, WA, as a unit of DesRon 37. In 1978 Higbee had the highest score for NGFS (Naval Gunfire Support) of any ship in the US Navy and was featured in Surface Warfare magazine for this distinction. Higbee was decommissioned and struck from the Navy list on 15 July 1979. Higbee was sunk as a target on 24 April 1986, around 130 nmi (240 km 150 mi) west of San Diego at 32°28′0.4″N 119°58′0.7″WCoordinates: 32°28′0.4″N 119°58′0.7″W.

Higbee earned one battle star for her service in World War II and seven battle stars for her service in the Korean War.


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Vietnam war [ edit | edit source ]

During the Vietnam war years Higbee carried a steam locomotive whistle attached to a main deck steam fitting. The plume of steam marks the location as the whistle is used to salute USS Chicago (CG-11) following refueling from the cruiser.

Ready for action on 3 January 1964, Higbee trained on the West Coast until departing for Japan on 30 June and reached her new homeport, Yokosuka, on 18 July. During the Gulf of Tonkin Incident in August, the destroyer screened carriers of Task Force 77 (TF㻍) in the South China Sea. In February 1965 Higbee supported the 9th Marine Brigade [ citation needed ] at Da Nang, Vietnam. In May [ citation needed ] she participated in Project Gemini recovery in the Western Pacific. On 1 September Higbee helped to rescue the crew from Arsinoe after the French tanker had grounded off Scarborough Shoals in the South China Sea. The remainder of September was spent in naval gunfire support off South Vietnam. On the return voyage to home port, the ship saw short duty as Station Ship Hong Kong. While in Hong Kong, Princess Margaret was piped aboard the ship.

The MiG-17 flown by Nguyen Van Bay B in the Air Battle of Dong Hoi on 19 April 1972.

While operating northeast of Luzon in late January 1966, Higbee sighted Russian hydrographic ship Gidrifon. Returning to South Vietnam in April, Higbee bombarded enemy positions near Cape St. Jacques and the mouth of the Saigon River. On 17 June she departed Yokosuka for the West Coast, arrived Long Beach, her new home port, on 2 July and operated out of there into 1967. In November 1966, Higbee and her squadron had R&R in Acapulco, Mexico, where Bob Hope did an unscheduled servicemen's show for the crews. The first half of 1967 was spent in the yards at Mare Island for a major refit before returning to the Vietnam theater. On 19 April 1972 the Higbee became the first US warship to be bombed during the Vietnam War, Α] when two VPAF (also known as the NVAF-North Vietnamese Air Force) MiG-17s from the 923rd Fighter Regiment attacked, one of which, piloted by Le Xuan Di, dropped a 250 kilogram (500 lb) bomb onto the Higbee ' s rear 5-inch gun mount, destroying it. Β]

The 5-inch gun crew had been outside of their turret, due to a misfire within the mount, when the air attack occurred, which resulted in the wounding of four US sailors. The second MiG-17 flown by Nguyen Van Bay went on to bomb the light cruiser USS Oklahoma City (CLG-5), causing only minor damage. Β] Γ]

Although there were no official aircraft losses reported by either side during the aerial attack, witnesses aboard accompanying USN vessel's deploying defensive measures, claimed one of the attacking MIGs with a direct hit by a surface to air missile fired from the USS Sterett (DLG-31). Photos taken by one of the Sterett's crew clearly show the MIG being destroyed by a Terrier missile. Eye witnesses saw a MIG aircraft blown to pieces by a direct Terrier missile strike at only a few thousand yards, pieces of the virtually disintegrated MIG fell into the sea in view of the eye witnesses.


Higbee Attack!

As these photographs graphically shows, the damage inflicted on the stern of the Higbee by Le Xuan Di’s solitary 250-kg bomb was severe. It effectively wrecked the destroyer’s aft 5-in turret, yet miraculously none of the vessel’s crew were killed.

In 1971, Vietnam’s military chiefs laid down the foundations for a special mission intended to deal a blow to the Americans. Ten pilots of the 923rd were picked for special ground-attack training, and with the help of Cuban advisor and pilot ‘Ernesto’ and his groundcrew, the Vietnamese began to train for a strike on shipping. By March 1972, six pilots were capable of flying maritime attack missions. Meanwhile, the 28th Technical Brigade was building a secret airfield at Gat, in Quang Binh province.

The 403rd radar unit was positioned near the Dinh river opposite the port of Nhat Le and given the task of keeping track of US warships.

At 1545 hrs on 18 April 1972, Le Hong Diep and Tu De of the 923rd Fighter Regiment took off from Kep. They flew their MiG-17s to Gia Lam, then on to Vinh and finally to Gat. On arrival the MiGs were quickly camouflaged and given a thorough inspection, before being handed over to the pilots selected for the mission.

Between 2300 and 2350 hrs that same day, Vietnamese radar picked up four US ships approaching the coast of Quang Binh and taking up station between ten and fifteen kilometres from the villages of Quang Xa and Ly Nhan Nam. Pilot Nguyễn Văn Bảy clearly remembers what unfolded

‘The next day my leader, Lê Xuân Dị, and I were sitting in our MiG-17s preparing for the attack when, at 0930 hrs, the 403rd radar unit reported up to four ships 40 kms from Le Thuy and 120 kms from Dinh, and three ships 80 kms from the Sot river. Due to the foggy weather, we could not take off.

‘At noon the radar unit reported that the ships had moved to the south, and only two remained in position. By 1500 hrs the first group of four ships was 15 kms from Ly Hoa. The second two-ship formation was seven kilometres from Quang Trach, while three more warships were 18 kms from Ly Hoa. A new group of ships was spotted at 1600 hrs 16 kms from Nhat Le.

‘At 1605 hrs we received our orders to take off in the MiG-17s which had been specially converted for the bombing mission by engineer Truong Khanh Chau. We flew towards Hill 280, ten kilometres from the sea, and then turned to starboard. While flying over Ly Hoa, we saw puffs of smoke from the ships, and assumed they were firing at the coast. Le Xuan Di reported to the command that there were two ships in front of us at a distance of 10-12 kms. We received an order to attack.

‘Over the sea Le Xuan Di turned to the left towards the USS Higbee (DD-806) and increased his speed to 800 km/h, while aiming at the ship. At a distance of 750 m he released his bombs and broke to the left. Both of the 250-kg bombs hit the ship. He reported this to ground control, and at 1618 hrs he landed at Gat airfield. His speed was too great, however, and Le Xuan Di overran the landing strip and ended up in the arrester barrier, but fortunately neither he nor his jet was damaged.

‘While Le Xuan Di was attacking his target I flew on, and upon reaching the Dinh river I spotted two ships to the north-east. I was too close, and did not have time for a proper attack, so I overshot them. I had to return for a second pass, dropping my bombs from a distance of 750 m. Le Xuan Di asked me on the radio: “All right?” I answered “Not really”, since I thought I had missed my target. After returning to base at 1622 hrs, I was told that a 30 m-high column of smoke was seen out at sea, and later something burst into flames.’

The attack took just 17 minutes, during which four bombs were dropped on American vessels and four seamen were wounded. Higbee’s superstructure was badly damaged, and the rear gun structure that housed two 5-in guns completely destroyed. The flagship of the Seventh Fleet, USS Oklahoma City (CLG-5) sustained only minor damage. Among the American newspapers that reported the incident on 20 April was The Daily Independent in Long Beach, California

‘. . . North Vietnamese MiGs, torpedo boats and shore batteries attacked US destroyers off North Vietnam on Wednesday, and the US Command reported one enemy plane was shot down and two torpedo boats were believed sunk. One MiG dropped a 250-lb (actually 250-kg) bomb on the rear deck of the Long Beach-based destroyer Higbee, wounding three sailors and destroying a 5-inch gun mount. Military spokesmen disclosed today that the flagship of the Seventh Fleet, the cruiser Oklahoma City, received minor damage from shrapnel resulting from shore fire. The American destroyers were shelling North Vietnamese coastal targets when the MiGs attacked. Torpedo boats swarming out from shore came under the guns of the guided missile frigate Sterett (DLG-31), the 54 command said.’

Guided missile cruiser Chicago (CG 11) steaming in the Pacific. The warship often served as the fleet’s “Red Crown” ship to monitor and direct U. S. operations in the air over North Vietnam and the Gulf of Tonkin.

Surface-ship sailors were part of the team that reduced the enemy’s MiG force. from 1965 to 1973 task force 77 positioned a cruiser equipped with advanced radars and communications gear between the enemy coast and the fleet at the PIRAZ (positive identification radar advisory zone) radar picket station. the ship, with the call sign “Red Crown,” tracked all planes over the eastern regions of North Vietnam and the gulf. Despite this precaution, in April 1972 two North Vietnamese MiG-17s attacked destroyer Higbee (DD 806), one of which dropped a bomb on the ship, wounding four sailors. A surface-to-air missile fired by cruiser Sterett (CG 31) positioned nearby then downed one of the assailants. [see note] Red Crown often alerted navy and air force aircraft of approaching MiGs and then sent escorting fighters to the rescue. senior Chief radarman Larry Nowell, serving on board guided missile cruiser Chicago (CG 11) in August 1972, received the navy Distinguished service medal for helping American air units destroy 12 North Vietnamese MiGs.

Despite the best efforts of naval aviators, fleet sailors, and air force fliers, the multiyear Rolling Thunder, Linebacker, and other major air operations did not achieve their primary objective of cutting enemy supply lines. moreover, the air war cost the death or capture of 881 naval aviators and the loss of 900 aircraft. The campaigns, however, undoubtedly destroyed an enormous amount of war material, delayed and weakened Communist ground offensives throughout Indochina, and finally persuaded Hanoi to negotiate an end to the war.

In reprisal for the Vietnamese success, the Americans attacked Dong Hoi on 19 April and the airfield at Vinh the following day. A few days later US pilots discovered the airfield at Gat, and up to 30 aircraft bombed it. One MiG-17 was damaged.


USS Higbee (DD/DDR-806), Gearing-class Destroyer

USS Higbee (DD/DDR-806) was a Gearing-class destroyer in the United States Navy during World War II. She was the first US warship named for a female member of the U.S. Navy,[1][2] being named for Chief Nurse Lenah S. Higbee (1874–1941), a pioneering Navy nurse who served as Superintendent of the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps during World War I.

Higbee was launched 13 November 1944 by the Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine sponsored by Mrs. A. M. Wheaton, sister of the late Mrs. Higbee and commissioned on 27 January 1945, Commander Lindsay Williamson in command.[3]

Higbee immediately sailed to Boston, where she was converted to a radar picket destroyer. After shakedown in the Caribbean, she sailed for the Pacific on 24 May, joining Carrier Task Force 38 less than 400 miles from Tokyo Bay on 19 July. "Leaping Lenah", as she had been dubbed by her crew, screened the carriers as their planes launched heavy air attacks against the Japanese mainland until the end of hostilities on 15 August. She helped clear Japanese mine fields and supported the occupation forces for the following seven months, finally returning to San Diego on 11 April 1946. The post-war years saw Higbee make two peacetime Western Pacific cruises as well as participate in fleet exercises and tactical training maneuvers during both these cruises and off the West Coast. On her second WestPac cruise, Higbee escorted the heavy cruiser Toledo (CA-133) as they paid official visits to the recently constituted governments of India and Pakistan in the summer of 1948.[3]

When Communist troops plunged into South Korea in June 1950, Higbee, redesignated DDR-806 on 18 March 1949, was immediately deployed to the Korean coast with the 7th Fleet. Most of her Korean War duty came in screening the Fast Carrier Task Force 77 as their jets launched raids against Communist positions and supply lines. On 15 September she formed part of the shore bombardment and screening group for the amphibious operation at Inchon. Higbee returned to San Diego on 8 February 1951. In two subsequent stints in Korea, she continued to screen the carrier task force and carry out shore bombardment of enemy positions. In order to protect against the possibility of Communist Chinese invasion of Nationalist China, Higbee also participated in patrol of Formosa Straits. Returning to the States on 30 June 1953, she entered the Long Beach Yard for a six-month modernization which saw major structural alterations made, including an enlarged Combat Information Center, new height-finding radar, and an improved anti-aircraft battery.[3]

The radar picket destroyer's peacetime duty then fell into a pattern of six-month WestPac cruises alternating with upkeep and training out of San Diego. Operating with the 7th Fleet on her WestPac cruises, Higbee visited Australian and South Pacific ports frequently as well as engaging in fleet maneuvers with units of SEATO navies. Her home port was changed to Yokosuka, Japan, on 21 May 1960. From there Higbee continued to cruise in the Pacific and along the China coast to strengthen American force in Asia. After two years duty in Japan, Higbee returned to her new home port, San Francisco, on 4 September 1962. On 1 April 1963 the destroyer entered the shipyard there for a fleet rehabilitation and modernization (FRAM) overhaul designed to improve her fighting capabilities and lengthen her life span as an active member of the fleet. Higbee was redesignated DD-806 on 1 June 1963.[3]

During the Vietnam war years Higbee carried a steam locomotive whistle attached to a main deck steam fitting. The plume of steam marks the location as the whistle is used to salute the USS Chicago following refueling from the cruiser.

Ready for action on 3 January 1964, Higbee trained on the West Coast until departing for Japan on 30 June and reached her new homeport, Yokosuka, on 18 July. During the Gulf of Tonkin Incident in August, the destroyer screened carriers of Task Force 77 (TF 77) in the South China Sea. In February 1965 Higbee supported the 9th Marine Brigade[citation needed] at Da Nang, Vietnam. In May[citation needed] she participated in Project Gemini recovery in the Western Pacific. On 1 September Higbee helped to rescue the crew from Arsinoe after the French tanker had grounded off Scarborough Shoals in the South China Sea. The remainder of September was spent in naval gunfire support off South Vietnam. On the return voyage to home port, the ship saw short duty as Station Ship Hong Kong. While in Hong Kong, Princess Margaret was piped aboard the ship.

Higbee under repair at Subic bay following her bomb hit

While operating northeast of Luzon in late January 1966, Higbee sighted the Soviet hydrographic ship Gidrifon. Returning to South Vietnam in April, Higbee bombarded enemy positions near Cape St. Jacques and the mouth of the Saigon River. On 17 June she departed Yokosuka for the West Coast, arrived Long Beach, her new home port, on 2 July and operated out of there into 1967. In November 1966, Higbee and her squadron had R&R in Acapulco, Mexico, where Bob Hope did an unscheduled servicemen's show for the crews. The first half of 1967 was spent in the yards at Mare Island for a major refit before returning to the Vietnam theater. On 19 April 1972 Higbee became the first US warship to be bombed during the Vietnam War,[4] when two VPAF (also known as the NVAF-North Vietnamese Air Force) MiG-17s from the 923rd Fighter Regiment attacked, one of which, piloted by Le Xuan Di, dropped a 250 kilogram (500 lb) bomb onto Higbee's rear 5-inch gun mount, destroying it.[5]

The 5-inch gun crew had been outside their turret, due to a misfire within the mount, when the air attack occurred, which resulted in the wounding of four US sailors. The second MiG-17 flown by Nguyen Van Bay went on to bomb the light cruiser USS Oklahoma City, causing only minor damage.[5][6]

Although there were no official aircraft losses reported by either side during the aerial attack, witnesses aboard accompanying USN vessel's deploying defensive measures, claimed one of the attacking MiGs with a hit by a surface-to-air missile fired from the cruiser USS Sterett.[7][a]

Higbee's first peacetime duty was as a member of Destroyer Squadron 27 homeported in Long Beach, California. Her later years (after May, 1975) were spent as a Naval Reserve Force destroyer homeported in Long Beach, CA and Seattle, WA, as a unit of DesRon 37.[8] In 1978 Higbee had the highest score for NGFS (Naval Gunfire Support) of any ship in the US Navy and was featured in Surface Warfare magazine for this distinction.[citation needed] Higbee was decommissioned and struck from the Navy list on 15 July 1979. Higbee was sunk as a target on 24 April 1986, around 130 nmi (240 km 150 mi) west of San Diego at 32°28′0.4″N 119°58′0.7″WCoordinates: 32°28′0.4″N 119°58′0.7″W.[citation needed]

Higbee earned one battle star for her service in World War II and seven battle stars for her service in the Korean War.[3]


Navy’s New USS Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee Destroyer Has a Story to Tell

USS Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee&rsquos christening ceremony took place in Pascagoula, Mississippi, where she was officially welcomed as the 73rd destroyer in the Arleigh Burke class. And, like most of the others ships in this class, there&rsquos also a significant history behind her name.

Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee can be considered one of the Navy&rsquos pioneers. Back in 1908, she was one of the few women to enter the Navy Nurse Corps, which was a new institution in itself. In fact, the first 20 women who joined it, including Lenah, became known as the &ldquoSacred Twenty.&rdquo

Only a few years later, in 1911, she became the second Superintendent of the Navy Nurse Corps and later went on to bring an important contribution during the Navy&rsquos participation in the First World War. Plus, she is also known for being the first living woman to receive the Navy Cross.

The first combat ship to ever be named after a woman that served in the U.S. Navy was, in fact, the USS Higbee (DD 806).

Therefore, the USS Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee (DDG 123) is the second ship named after her.

The 509.5-ft (155-meter) long and 59-ft (18-meter) wide ship is designed to combine a quick reaction time with electronic countermeasures for modern warfare. Guided-missile destroyers are specifically configured for multi-mission combat, including anti-air, anti-submarine, and anti-surface warfare.

Like the other ships in this class, the USS Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee is equipped with the MK-41 Vertical Launching System and the Aegis weapon system. Since the first DDG 51 has been delivered, all ships in the Arleigh Burke class (DDG 51) have gone through periodical upgrades for improved sensors, weapons, and support systems.

The USS Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee (DDG 123) will be joining the other ships in the San Diego homeport, and we look forward to her becoming as successful as the woman who inspired her name.


Navy to Christen Guided-Missile Destroyer Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee

The Navy will christen its newest Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, the future USS Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee (DDG 123), during a 6:30 p.m. CDT ceremony Saturday, April 24, in Pascagoula, Miss.

The ship's namesake, Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee, served as the second Superintendent of the Navy Nurse Corps in 1911, and was also the first living woman recipient of the Navy Cross. When she entered naval service in 1908, she was one of the first 20 women, known as the "Sacred Twenty," to join the newly established Navy Nurse Corps and contributed her nursing skills to the Navy during the First World War. This is the second ship named after Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee. The first ship, USS Higbee (DD 806), was the first combat warship named after a female member of the U.S. Navy.

The Honorable Ray Mabus, 75th Secretary of the Navy, will deliver the christening ceremony's principal address. Mr. Jay Stefany, acting assistant secretary of the Navy (Research, Development and Acquisition) and Rear Adm. Cynthia Kuehner, Commander, Naval Medical Forces Support Command will also provide remarks. In a time-honored Navy tradition, the ship's sponsors, Ms. Louisa Dixon, Ms. Virginia Munford, and Ms. R. Pickett Wilson, will christen the ship by breaking a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow.

"The future USS Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee will serve for decades as a reminder of Ms. Higbee's service to our nation and her unwavering support of a strong and healthy Navy and Marine Corps team," said Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Harker. "This ship honors not only her service but that of all of our Navy nurses who support the strength and wellbeing of our service members and their families."

The ship will be the 73rd Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, and is one of 20 ships currently under contract for the DDG 51 program. The ship is configured as a Flight IIA destroyer, which enables power projection and delivers quick reaction time, high firepower, and increased electronic countermeasures capability for anti-air warfare. The future USS Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee will be 509.5 feet long and 59 feet wide, with a displacement of 9,496 tons. It will be homeported in San Diego.


Watch the video: The Decisive Year: Surface Strikes 1972. US Navy - Vietnam War (November 2021).