The US Navy celebrated the commissioning of its newest Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, USS Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee (DDG 123), in a prestigious ceremony held in Key West, Florida.

Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee, was a trailblazing member of the Navy Nurse Corps and the first female recipient of the Navy Cross.

In a ceremony held on Saturday, May 13, the United States Navy commissioned the USS Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee (DDG 123), a guided-missile destroyer of the Arleigh Burke class.

Rear Admiral Cynthia Kuehner, Commander of the Naval Medical Forces Support Command and Director of the US Navy Nurse Corps, delivered the principal address during the commissioning ceremony, highlighting the remarkable achievements of Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee.

In memory of a pioneer  

Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee served as the second Superintendent of the Navy Nurse Corps in 1911. She was one of the “Sacred Twenty,” the first 20 women who joined the newly established Navy Nurse Corps in 1908 and contributed her nursing skills during the First World War. 

This is the second ship to bear her name, with the first, USS Higbee (DD 806), the first combat warship named after a female member of the U.S. Navy.

“Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee was ahead of her time, from being one of the first members of the Navy Nurse Corps to being its second Superintendent, to being the first woman to earn the Navy Cross,” said Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro.

“I am confident that the crew who will sail USS Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee will continue honouring her trailblazing legacy.”

The US Navy has 17 additional ships under contract for the DDG 51 program, showcasing its commitment to enhancing its fleet’s capabilities.

As a Flight IIA destroyer, the USS Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee boasts features that contribute to power projection, quick reaction time, high firepower, and increased electronic countermeasures capability for anti-air warfare.

With a length of 509.5 feet, a width of 59 feet, and a displacement of 9,496 tons, the ship stands as a symbol of the Navy’s strength and technological advancement.

The USS Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee will be homeported in San Diego, joining the ranks of other esteemed vessels in the Navy fleet.

Last month, the US Navy recently christened its final Freedom-class littoral combat ship (LCS), the USS Cleveland (LCS 31), on 15 April 2023 at the Wisconsin-based Fincantieri Marinette Marine Shipyard.