USS Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee, the US Navy’s 73rd Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer (DDG 123), was commissioned in a ceremony in the Conch Republic, on May 13.
During National Nurses Week, the commission of DDG 123 paid tribute to the Navy nurses. The ship was named after Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee, a nurse who made history as the first living woman to receive the Navy Cross during World War I.
Cynthia Kuehner, commander of Naval Medical Forces and director of the US Navy Nurse Corps, extended birthday wishes to the Corps on its 115th anniversary. She acknowledged the Corps’ role as one of “the greatest enhancements to the fighting strength of the Navy over the past 247 years of its rich history.”
In the midst of the ceremony, Cmdr. Douglas Brayton, the commanding officer of the USS Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee, declared the ship ready to Capt. Courtney M. Minetree, the commodore of Destroyer Squadron 21.
Following this, Louisa Dixon, Virginia Munford, and R. Pickett Wilson, the ship’s sponsors, gave the traditional order to “Man our ship and bring her to life!”
“If there’s anything I want us all to take away from the commissioning of this ship is that we all have the ability to make a difference and make an impact. Whether you are the first group of 20 female nurses in the Navy, a new sailor to the service, or someone just wanting to see what a ship commissioning is,” said Brayton. “We all have the ability and choice to make a difference.”
In Pascagoula, Miss, on April 24, 2021, the christening ceremony for the Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee stood out from others as it featured a later timing than usual, and attendees were treated to a fireworks display organized by the Navy and shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls Industries.
Arleigh Burke-class destroyers serve as the foundation of the US Navy’s surface fleet. These ships undertake a myriad of operations, ranging from maintaining a peaceful presence to safeguarding national security. They provide a diverse array of combat abilities, including countering multiple threats from the air, surface, and subsurface domains.