By Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs
SAN DIEGO -
The guided-missile destroyer USS Higgins (DDG 76) returned to its homeport of San Diego after an independent eight-month deployment to the Western Pacific and U.S. Central Command area of responsibility (AOR).
Higgins conducted ballistic missile defense operations throughout its deployment. During its Western Pacific transit, Higgins completed a passing exercise (PASSEX) with the Royal Thai Navy, and provided maritime domain awareness to the Maldives Coast Guard.
While in the 5th Fleet AOR, Higgins participated in multiple exercises operations with coalition partners including Operation Goal Keeper, a multi-national exercise with Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Qatar; and Exercise Arabian Gauntlet, a mine countermeasure and surface combatant exercise. Higgins also participated in Operation Iron Siren, a bi-lateral exercise with the United Arab Emirates Navy.
For the majority of deployment, Higgins was assigned to Command Task Group Iraqi Maritime and participated in oil platform defense of Al Basra Oil Terminal. Higgins also played a significant role in facilitating the transfer of control of the platform from the U.S. to the Iraqi military.
During the return transit to San Diego, Higgins conducted operations in the 7th Fleet AOR with the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group and conducted scheduled port visits in Hong Kong, China and Guam.
Higgins helps provide deterrence, promote peace and security, preserve freedom of the sea and humanitarian/disaster response within 3rd Fleet’s 50-million square mile area of responsibility in the Eastern Pacific, as well as supporting the Navy’s Maritime Strategy when forward deployed.