Southern, California - USS HIGGINS recently spent a week underway supporting Commander THIRD Fleet tasking. Some of the events completed were summer Midshipmen training, Underway Replenishment (UNREP) and Man Overboard drills. While those events are fairly common for HIGGINS, a few evolutions accomplished less frequently were part of the scheduled events. HIGGINS joined up with the PELELIU Amphibious Readiness Group (PELARG), providing Naval Surface Fire Support (NSFS) services as part of the PELARG Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) integration exercise to help the Marine forces train, and successfully completing a Fueling at Sea (FAS) evolution with the USS PELELIU (LHA 5).
While providing NSFS fire support to Marines in ashore, HIGGINS fired over 200 rounds from the MK 45/5” gun with precision coordinating with Marine spotters to provide cover fire and clear targets on shore. This supporting arms coordination center exercise (SACCEX) exercise provides excellent training for HIGGINS in preparation for deployment overseas as well as for real time scenarios to hone skills and develop confidence in conduction Amphibious operations.
The majority of UNREPS are completed with oilers or tankers as opposed to other warships. The FAS accomplished with PELELIU was the first such refueling HIGGINS performed since August 2011 while returning home from her last deployment, when HIGGINS conducted a FAS with USS RONALD REAGAN (CVN 76). The crews of both HIGGINS and PELELIU showcased their superb readiness in their efficient actions, making a dangerous but necessary process appear smooth and almost effortless.
This week’s shore bombardment and conduct of evolutions in the littoral areas of the seas also provided a great way to memorialize the D-Day operations in Normandy that occurred exactly 68 years earlier. For HIGGINS, a destroyer named for a Marine Colonel, the week’s events were also a fitting example of the Navy-Marine Corp team’s capabilities.