NAPLES, Italy — San Diego-based destroyer USS Higgins (DDG 76) is currently deployed in the 6th Fleet area of operations and is a real-world application of the collaborative approach by fleet commanders for supporting global mission requirements.
U.S. Fleet Forces and U.S. Pacific Fleet utilize standardized practices, certifications and Navy resources to most effectively meet combatant commander requirements and address global contingencies wherever they may arise. With this uniform approach, a Pacific Fleet ship, for example, has the ability to transit into an area of operation traditionally supported by Atlantic Fleet ships and seamlessly perform across the full range of military operations.
Higgins reported on station in the Mediterranean Sea, Sept. 1, following completion of a normal Western transit, which included consecutive operations in the 3rd, 7th, and 5th Fleets.
"Having recently served on the Naval Surface Forces staff, I know how closely the Atlantic and Pacific type commander organizations in Norfolk and San Diego work to build and maintain one standard of naval capability across the entire fleet," said Higgins' commanding officer Cmdr. Carl Meuser. "That close cooperation has translated for us into a smooth transition from 3rd Fleet to 7th Fleet, to 5th Fleet to 6th Fleet. We train to the same standard and to the same mission areas as a ship from Norfolk."
Higgins made its first 6th Fleet port call to Haifa, Israel, Sept. 2. The ship is currently participating in the multinational exercise Jackal Stone 2009 with nine other partner nations. Jackal Stone promotes cooperation and interoperability between special operations forces.
"USS Higgins' current operations are a perfect example of our 'One Fleet' approach to meeting global requirements," said Adm. J. C. Harvey, Jr., commander, U.S. Fleet Forces. "Our common training standards and common operating principles mean that we can fully integrate any ship to support our missions, regardless of homeport. We will see more of this in our future, particularly in Navy ballistic missile defense (BMD) operations."
With a complement of more than 270 sailors and multi-mission offensive and defensive capabilities, Higgins is a ready force providing regional security. Throughout this deployment, the Aegis destroyer and crew will conduct various engagements to develop enduring international military partnerships while representing Navy BMD for the United States and its allies.