Naval Historical Center
805 Kidder Breese Street SE
Washington Navy Yard, DC 20374-5060
John Martin Higgins, born in Madison, Wisconsin on 13 August 1899, entered the U.S. Naval Academy in 1918, graduating in June 1922. After graduation, he joined USS Mississippi, in which he served until March 1924. After brief duty at the Naval Academy, he reported in August of that year for duty in connection with the fitting out of USS Marblehead, and served in that cruiser from her commissioning, 6 September 1924 until January 1926.
Following a course of instruction at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, he had consecutive duty on USS Nokomis and Raleigh from July 1926 until June 1929. He then had duty at the Naval Training Station, Great Lakes, Illinois, until May 1931. Returning to sea, he joined USS Philip, which operated in Nicaraguan waters. Detached from that destroyer in May 1932, he served consecutively the next two years in USS Melville and Argonne. In July 1934 he reported for duty as officer in charge of the Navy Recruiting Station, Chicago, Illinois. Detached from that duty in June 1936, he joined USS Pennsylvania, and served as communication officer of that battleship from May 1937 until June 1939. Reported to the Twelfth Naval District, San Francisco, California, he then had duty as Aide to the Commandant from July 1939 until December 1940.
Following duty in connection with fitting out USS Gwin, he served in that destroyer from her commissioning, 15 January 1941 until October 1942. He thereafter had consecutive duty as Commander Destroyer Division 22, Commander Destroyer Division 23, and Commander Destroyer Squadron 6, serving at various times aboard the destroyers Maury and Fanning.
On 8 May 1944, he assumed duty as Commander Destroyer Squadron 62 with additional duty as Commander Destroyer Division 123. On 22 May 1945 he became Commander Destroyer Flotilla Three with the Anti-Aircraft Cruiser Flint as his flagship. He led his destroyer flotilla in attacks against units of the Japanese fleet and shore installations in the first and second Tokyo raids, the Kyushu air strikes, the Okinawa operations, and the Minami Daito Shima and Chichi Jima bombardments. In the face of intense and determined air attacks, ships of his flotilla destroyed numerous enemy aircraft to protect the carriers and maintain the offensive power of the warships and aircraft of the task force.
Detached from that command in December 1945, he returned to the United States, and reported on 17 January 1946 for duty in the Operational Readiness Section, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Department, and the following July he was detached and ordered to report for duty as Chief of Staff and Aide to the Commander, Training Command, Pacific.
On 1 April 1950, he reported as Commander Cruiser Division Five and while operating in Japanese waters in command of the Naval Support Group, Naval Forces, Far East, he directed the U.N. naval attacks against North Korean forces when hostilities started on 25 June 1950. Rear Admiral Higgins was in charge of the Naval Gunfire Support Group during the amphibious landings at Pohang, Korea.
On 10 November 1950 he assumed additional duties as Commander Minesweeping Force, Western Pacific. While acting in that command, as well as Commander Naval Support Group, East Coast Korea, and Commander Cruiser Division Five, he supported and directed the minesweeping operations at Wonsan, Iwon, Songjin, and Hungnam. Upon completion of the redeployment of United Nations troops from Hungnam, Rear Admiral Higgins was detached from duties as Commander Cruiser Division Five and on 5 January 1951 activated the command of Commander Mine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet. He continued to serve in that command until April 1952. In May 1952 he reported as President of the Board of Inspection and Survey, Navy Department, and in May 1954 was designated Commandant of the Eighth Naval District, with headquarters in New Orleans, Louisiana.
He was Chief of the Military Assistance Advisory Group, Japan, with headquarters in Tokyo, from July 1957 until April 1959, when he was order to duty in the Bureau of Naval Personnel, Navy Department. On 31 October 1959, he assumed the duties of Commandant of the Ninth Naval District, with headquarters at the U.S. Naval Training Center, Great Lakes, Illinois. He served as such until relieved of all active duty pending his retirement, effective 1 September 1961.
Scope and Content Note
This collection consists largely of official papers of Rear Admiral John M. Higgins. Among the materials in the collection are orders and travel vouchers, daily schedules from 1950 to 1961, awards and commendations, and speeches. The speeches are divided into two groups, one given while Higgins was in New Orleans and the second while he was in MAAG, Japan.
This collection should be cited as Papers of John M. Higgins, Operational Archives Branch, Naval Historical Center, Washington, D.C.
Subject Headings (LCSH)
World War, 1939-1945--Naval Operations, American.
Korean War, 1950-1953--Naval Operations.
Military Assistance, American--Japan.
United States. Navy--History--Sources.
0.75 cubic feet
17 October 2002