Navy Cmdr. Nicole Shue, commanding officer of the guided-missile destroyer USS Higgins, speaks with Capt. Thomas Workman, commodore of Destroyer Squadron 23, aboard ship in the Arabian Gulf in June 2013. Higgins was 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.

Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Devin Wray/courtesy

Navy Cmdr. Nicole Shue, commanding officer of the guided-missile destroyer USS Higgins, speaks with Capt. Thomas Workman, commodore of Destroyer Squadron 23, aboard ship in the Arabian Gulf in June 2013. Higgins was 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.

Navy Cmdr. Nicole Shue brings guided missile destroyer USS Higgins back to port

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— Navy Cmdr. Nicole Shue and her guided missile destroyer USS Higgins with its 250 sailors are back in their home port of San Diego for several more months after completing a nine-month deployment to the Middle East and Southeast Asia in October 2013.

Shue grew up in Yampa and is a 1991 graduate of Steamboat Springs High School.

The ship and its crew were part of the USS Nimitz Carrier Strike Group while deployed and took part in a number of exercises including maritime presence operations with partner nations.

"I am continually grateful for the effort my crew displayed during deployment and after our return to San Diego," Shue was quoted saying in a news release from the Navy. "The dedication and professionalism they put forth daily reaffirms their commitment to their country and the naval service."

She was in Steamboat Springs in August 2011 for her 20th high school reunion.

Shue graduated from Oregon State University with a Bachelor of Science in environmental science and oceanography. She also holds a master's degree in global leadership from the University of San Diego and is a graduate of the Air Command and Staff College.

The USS Higgins is 505 feet long and 59 feet wide and weighs nearly 8,700 tons. Twin gas turbine engines propel the ship through the water at more than 30 mph. Its weapons systems include MK46 torpedoes, both Tomahawk and Harpoon missiles and a pair of Phalanx CIWS (close in weapons systems) 20m rapid fire guns, among others, according to the Navy.

Shue said commanding a ship is something she never expected to be doing.

"I have gained a deeper sense of commitment and responsibility," she said. "This is especially true being in command because I am wholly responsible for everyone on the ship."

She added that she has experienced personal and professional growth through the various experiences encountered on her various deployments.

"I love being in the Navy," Shue said. "There are good days and bad days. You have to look at what you do across the breadth of experiences. In the Navy, more so than anywhere else, it's the people you meet and the lasting friendships that you have. These are things that you get from service in the military — and it is what makes people love to serve."

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1

Comments

Thomss Steele 6 months, 1 week ago

Thank you Commander Shue for your service. All of Routt County is proud that you are one if us.

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Harvey Lyon 6 months, 1 week ago

BZ Capt. Shue. And of course your crew. 9 months is one heck of a deployment.

Hopefully your crew got some good port visits along the way but they seem to be becoming fewer and far between.

I'm almost 20 years retired and STILL we can't seem to come up with a single uniform for at sea Navy wear....LOL

Go Desron 23.....Little Beavers and 31 knot Burke :)

Harv Lyon '79

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Scott Wedel 6 months, 1 week ago

Harvey,

I looked it up and there are even more choices than you might think. There are 4 colors of the pixalated working uniform which is claimed to have the advantage of hiding stains. With that and other uniforms, it looks like a Commander could go a couple of weeks before wearing the same uniform again. :)

Just curious (sincerely), any good stories on uniforms from your days in the service? (I find details of history interesting).

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Harvey Lyon 6 months, 1 week ago

Scott,

Generally nope. Officers wore khakis and enlisted wore dungarees. However, towards the end, engineers started wearing blue coveralls, like Capt Shue, that are flame and fire resistant and more easily washed.......less water.

Towards the last 3 years the Fed decided we'd go "joint" meaning all services would become more fully intergrained at all levels. This created a huge change in uniforms.....most with camoflage.....like the Commodore is wearing in the pic.

I had fun..."bumping into" folks along the passageways of the Carrier I was on saying "oh....excuse me....I didn't see you" as they were wearing camo coveralls......LOL.

Its nice to see COs of ships, like Capt Shue, wearing Navy Blue engineering coveralls as she's out and about.....obviously on the mess decks. And its equally nice to see the Commodore of Desron 23 wearing the "joint" at-sea coveralls. My guess is he helo'd in from the carrier which has all branches of service.

Least ways, save for the belt buckles, they're wearing things that do not absorb heat, no metal rank insignia and are more suited to the fact that on a moment's notice, things can get dicey in their job. And I'm not talking strickly combat. Put that much potential power, explosives, fuel, engineering, machinery, etc together and its like living under the hood of a NASCAR racer......day in and day out.

Harv Lyon

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Scott Wedel 6 months ago

From the pic, it looks like the floors match the camo uniform.

btw, here is an article upon the ship's return. Yes, it did return to port 7 months ago. From another article, Cmdr Shue took command in May 2013.

http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/Oct/07/higgins-destroyer-sandiego-homecoming/

The article's pic is in google images if you search for Destroyer Higgins.

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