USS Higgins
First to Fight!
USS Higgins Hosts Midshipmen Summer Training
Ensign Kara Lynn Yingling
U.S. 5TH FLEET AREA OF RESPONSIBILITY – Six Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) midshipmen are currently embarked on the guided- missile destroyer USS Higgins (DDG 76) to experience life on board a ship as part of their midshipmen summer training.  

The summer training program is designed to expose midshipmen to daily operations aboard U.S. Navy ships, aircraft, and submarines.

While underway, midshipmen from Rochester University, Rochester Institute of Technology, Cornell University, and the University of San Diego participated in M-240 live-fire exercises, damage control training, steel beach picnics, ship handling, and flag hoist drills. The midshipmen were also tasked with researching the ship’s namesake, Colonel William Richard Higgins, to earn a command ball cap.

“The crewmembers of the USS Higgins have been very accommodating and considerate in our development,” Midshipman 1st Class Roxanne Sumanga said.  “I think it is safe to say we accomplished a lot more than our civilian peers this summer.”

The midshipmen were also able to spend an afternoon on board HMS Dragon (D35) where they gained exposure to the British navy.

 “Getting to experience the daily routine of a deployed allied destroyer was an invaluable experience for me; something most midshipmen will not get to experience before entering the fleet,” said Midshipman 2nd Class Joe Thibodeau.

The entire Higgins crew was charged with teaching the midshipmen about life on board a destroyer.  Each midshipman was also assigned a running mate to shadow as they spent time in their watch stations and work centers.

 “Our running mates went above and beyond, finding tasks for us and explaining situations that we would never have seen if it weren’t for them,” Midshipman 2nd Class Casey Arnold said.

The training, which began May 30 and continues through June 17, marks the last time the senior midshipmen will be at sea before joining the fleet as ensigns.
“Midshipmen summer training events directly impact how midshipmen perceive the surface Navy and our mission. By including a variety of activities into the daily routine, our training team on board facilitated a positive learning environment for the midshipmen and their development as future surface naval officers,” said Cmdr. Nicole Shue, commanding officer.

Higgins is currently deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility promoting maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts and support missions for Operation Enduring Freedom.

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