48th Veteran of the Quarter, Dale Higgins, US Navy

September 1, 2022

Dale Higgins was born October 8, 1926, in a farmhouse in Seward County, Kansas, near Liberal, Kansas. Just prior to graduating High School, Higgins had enlisted on April 4, 1944, only two months shy of graduation. He had hoped to avoid being drafted and to be granted permission to graduate before starting boot camp. Higgins had favor on his side, and he was able to complete his High School studies and graduate with his fellow classmates. However, just one week after graduation, Higgins and seven of his friends all reported for duty. On June 1, 1944, they started boot camp at NTS Great Lakes, Illinois.

After completing boot camp, Dale was transferred to Richmond, VA, where he received training as a Basic Engineer on Diesel engines. Later Dale would be transferred once again to San Diego, CA, where he trained further on Landing Crafts at Coronado Island.

When his training was complete, Higgins left San Diego in a flotilla of 30 LCIs which were 36-foot flat-bottom landing crafts designed to transport thirty troops for 3 days. “We had thirty-six men aboard for 10 days sailing for Pearl Harbor 13 hours there and I sailed for Eniwetok Island to a receiving ship, then to the island of Samar in the Philippines, where I was stationed in a landing craft repair base. I repaired diesel engines in crafts back from island landings. I was lucky and was assigned to a three-man crew for an officer that was a genuinely nice duty,” states Higgins.

Dale said, “After the tour in Samar, I was assigned to sea draft aboard the USS Cabildo, which was a landing ship dock carrying LCMs and LCVPs headed for Okinawa, and I was there when the Japanese surrendered. We were a supply ship that was preparing for the invasion of Japan. We sailed immediately to Wakayama, Japan, where we helped evacuate a prisoner of war camp just four days before MacArthur arrived to sign the peace treaty.”

Higgins goes on to say, “at the end of my duty, I arrived back home in Norman, Oklahoma from the West Coast, discharged from the Navy. As it would happen, my best friend Bill arrived from the East Coast that very same day, and he was discharged as well. During this time, we had been separated from one another, and came back on the same day.”  His military medals include the Victory Medal, American Campaign Medal, and Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal.

After returning home to Oklahoma, Higgins went to work for his father on the farm, and soon after met the “love of his life.”  They were married for 71 years until her death and have six children, sixteen grandchildren, and nineteen great-grandchildren. Higgins took an early retirement from a corporation in 1985 and then went on to become a successful realtor for 25 years. He is a life member of the American Legion and Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, as well as a member of the Branson Veterans of America.


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