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US Navy - Guided Missile Destroyer

DDG 123 - USS Lenah H. Sutcliffe Higbee


  uss lehan h. sutcliffe higbee ddg 123 arleigh burke class destroyer us navy


Type, class: Guided Missile Destroyer - DDG; Arleigh Burke class, Flight IIA

Builder: Huntington Ingalls Shipbuilding, Pascagoula, Mississippi, USA



Awarded: authorized

Laid down:


Commissioned: ?




Namesake: Lenah H. Sutcliffe Higbee (1874-1941)

Ships Motto:

Technical Data: see: INFO > Arleigh Burke class Guided Missile Destroyer - DDG


ship images



USS Lenah H. Sutcliffe Higbee (DDG 123):

ARLINGTON, Va. (NNS) -- During a ceremony to honor women who served in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced an Arleigh-Burke class destroyer, DDG 123, will be named Lenah H. Sutcliffe Higbee.

Higbee, the future ship's namesake, was a pioneering United States Navy chief nurse, who served as the Superintendent of the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps during World War I and was the first female recipient of the Navy Cross.

"It is a great honor to name this ship in recognition of Lenah H. Sutcliffe Higbee," said Mabus. "I have no doubt that all who serve aboard her will carry on the legacy of service and commitment exemplified by this pioneer of U.S. Navy Nurse Corps."

The former USS Higbee (DD-806), commissioned in 1945, was the first ship named in her honor and the first U.S. Navy combat ship to bear the name of a female member of the Naval service.

Mabus honored the service and sacrifice of women who served in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps during a sunset parade on United States Marine Corps Iwo Jima Memorial grounds.

"This ship will be a part of our fleet for decades, and the legacy of Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee and her service to our nation will live on for decades through the ship's voyages across the oceans, and through the lives of the crew who will sail aboard it," said Mabus.

"Higbee's professionalism, leadership and selfless dedication to her nurses and patients reflect the highest standards of naval service," said Dr. Regina T. Akers, naval historian. "She and her nurses provided the best treatment possible often under some of the worse conditions. Higbee will continue to inspire all who learn of her courage, honor and commitment."

Arleigh-Burke class destroyers conduct a variety of operations from peacetime presence and crisis response to sea control and power projection. DDG 123 will be capable of fighting air, surface and subsurface battles simultaneously and will contain a combination of offensive and defensive weapon systems designed to support maritime warfare, including integrated air and missile defense and vertical launch capabilities.

The ship will be constructed at Ingalls Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries, in Mississippi and is expected to enter the Navy fleet in 2024.


Lenah H. Sutcliffe Higbee (1874 -1941):

Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee was born in Chatham, New Brunswick, Canada, on May 18, 1874. She was graduated in nursing from the New York Post Graduate Hospital, in 1899, and shortly after, married Lieutenant Colonel J. H. Higbee, U. S. Marine Corps. After Colonel Higbee’s death in April 1908, she resumed her nursing career and took a post graduate course at Fordham Hospital, New York. Upon completion of this course, she was appointed Nurse in the Navy Nurse Corps, and reported for duty at the U. S. Naval Hospital, Washington, D. C. In April 1909 she was promoted to Chief Nurse, U. S. Navy, and was transferred to the Naval Hospital, Norfolk, Virginia.

On January 20, 1911, Mrs. Higbee was appointed Superintendent of the Navy Nurse Corps and returned to duty in Washington in the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. She held this position, the second so named, until she was honorably discharged from the Naval Service, at her own request, on November 30, 1922.

For World War I Service, she was awarded the Navy Cross. Mrs. Higbee was the only woman to ever be presented the Navy Cross. The citation follows:

“For distinguished service in the line of her profession and unusual and conspicuous devotion to duty as Superintendent of the Navy Nurse Corps.”

Mrs. Higbee died on January 10, 1941 at Winter Park, Florida, and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery beside her husband.

>> Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee served in the United States Navy from 1908-1922. For eleven of her fourteen years of service, Higbee was Superintendent of the Navy Nurse Corps. Chief Nurse Higbee received the Navy Cross for her leadership of the Navy Nurse Corps during World War I. She was the first female to be presented the award. A Canadian by birth, Higbee completed her formal nursing training at the New York Postgraduate Hospital in 1899 and that same year married retired U.S. Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel John Henley Higbee. Higbee worked in private practice following her marriage. Higbee’s husband passed in April 1908 and she advanced her nursing career by completing a post graduate course at Fordham Hospital in New York City. On 13 May 1908, Congress passed legislation allowing for the establishment of Navy Nurse Corps - the equivalent of the Army Nurse Corps established in 1901. The Navy required members of its Nurse Corps to be unmarried and between the age of 22 and 44. The thirty-six year old and widowed Higbee joined nineteen other females to make up this first group of female Navy Nurses - known as the “Sacred Twenty.” Higbee became Chief Nurse at Norfolk Naval Hospital in 1909 and the second Superintendent of the Corps in 1911. Higbee led the Nurse Corps through not only World War I, but the Spanish Influenza epidemic. Higbee was one of four Navy Nurses to be awarded the Navy Cross in 1920, however, the other three were victims of the flu and honored posthumously. Higbee retired from the Navy in 1922. <<

A destroyer, the USS Higbee (DD-806), was named in her honor. Her sister, Mrs. A. M. Wheaton, Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada, christened the vessel, launched at the Bath Iron Works Corporation, Bath, Maine, on November 13, 1944. The USS Higbee served gallantly in the Pacific during the latter period of World War II.

source: US Naval History & Heritage Command


Lenah H. Sutcliffe Higbee

lenah h. sutcliffe higbee us navy nurse corps ddg-123




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