CT3 Alan Higgins, USN
January 27, 1948 – June 8, 1967
Alan Higgins was born in Weymouth, Massachusetts, on January 27, 1948, and enlisted in the Navy on September 16, 1965. His parents are Mr. and Mrs. Wilbur C. Higgins of Dover, Delaware.
On Thursday June 8, 1967, the USS Liberty, one of eight merchant-type ships which had been modified to perform electronic intelligence, was 14 miles offshore from the Egyptian town of El Arish off the coast of Sinai, when she was attacked by Israeli fighter-bombers. The attack continued for seven minutes, leaving eight of the ship’s crew dead or dying, more than 100 wounded, and the ship riddled and burning. Fourteen minutes later, the Liberty was attacked by three Israeli torpedo boats which raked the ship with gunfire – killing another four men, and then launched torpedoes. One torpedo hit a communications compartment, raising the death total to 34. Within 30 minutes of the torpedo attack, two helicopters carrying armed troops appeared alongside, and two jet fighters loitered in the sky astern as if poised for strikes. As suddenly as it had started, everything stopped. Israel claimed that the 10,000 ton, 459-foot ship was mistaken for the 2,640 tons, 275 foot long, Egyptian troopship, El Quseir.
Alan is one of the 34 who were killed. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Grave #1773, Section 12.
27 January 2020 at 12:04
Thanks for posting this, I remember it like yesterday.
Sent from my iPad
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27 January 2020 at 14:43
God rest Alan Higgins, and the peace of the Lord be with his parents. I was active duty as a CTO2 when the attack occurred. and read highly sensitive top secret messages concerning the attack. Israel knew 45 minutes before the attack that it was an American intelligence ship they were attacking. Intercepts from the Israeli fighter planes confirmed it. Disgraceful doesn’t even begin to describe the event.
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28 January 2020 at 00:18
Long ago, I heard that prior to the Israeli attack on LIBERTY, Israeli soldiers in the Sinai had captured a few hundred Egyptian soldiers. Because the Israelis were outnumbered and actively involved in fighting, they decided to kill the captured Egyptian POW’S. i also heard that the Israeli Government did not want LIBERTY monitoring their message traffic related to this incident in the Sinai. As a result, the Israeli Government decided to remove the ability of LIBERTY to intercept their radio traffic. I have no personal knowledge that what I’ve described here is true, but after reading Mr. Lynn Wiston’s reply directly above, I suspect what I’ve written may well be true. “Incidents” happen in combat. What the Israeli’s may or may not have done to the Egyptian POWs, I can understand and accept as it was a combat imperative (as I’ve lightly described it here). On the other hand, the Israeli attack on a ship of the U.S. Navy I cannot accept and do not understand.
I personally will always have the best interest at heart of American military personnel.
Andy McKane, Molokai, Hawaii.