Commander Chris A. Higginbotham
United States Navy
Commander Chris Alan Higginbotham was raised in the small farming town of Lamar, MO. In 1990 he was commissioned via the Naval Reserve Officer Training Program at the University of Missouri, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in History. He completed initial Naval Flight Officer training with VT-10 and VT-86 in Pensacola FL.
Commander Higginbotham reported to VAW-120 for training in the E-2C Hawkeye in 1992. Upon completion in January 1993, he reported to the BEARACES of VAW-124 in Norfolk VA where he served as a mission commander, legal, tactics and maintenance quality assurance officer. His squadron deployed upon USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (CVN 71) in1993 and 1995. He completed two deployments to the, Mediterranean Sea, Adriatic Sea, Red Sea, Indian Ocean, and Arabian Gulf including combat operations during Operation Deny Flight. In 1995, he participated in the Personnel Exchange Program with the British Royal Navy. He reported to the AARDVARKS of A-Flight 849 squadron in RNAS Culdrose/HMS SEAHAWK U.K for flight training and duty as a Mission Commander and Tactics Officer. His squadron deployed upon the British Aircraft Carrier HMS INVINCIBLE. With 849 he completed two deployments to the Mediterranean Sea, North Atlantic, Adriatic Sea, and the Red Sea as well as the Indian Ocean and Arabian Gulf. Following his return to duty with the U.S. Navy in 1998, he reported to Afloat Planning Systems Pacific at Camp Smith Hawaii serving as Commander Pacific Fleet Tomahawk Senior Mission planner and Afloat Detachment Officer in Charge. As the OIC onboard the USS Constellation (CV 64) he deployed to the Indian Ocean and Arabian Gulf in 1999 as well as planning Tomahawk missions in support of Operation Allied Force in Kosovo. In May of 2000 he reported as a flight instructor and the assistant officer in charge of operations for Fleet Replacement Squadron VAW-120 in Norfolk VA.
Commander Higginbotham returned to the fleet in 2001, serving as the Maintenance and then Operations Officer for the BEARACES of VAW-124. His squadron deployed upon the USS ENTERPRISE (CVN 65) and again on the USS ROOSEVELT (CVN 71) including combat operations during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi freedom. After completing his Department Head tour, in 2004 he attended the Naval War College in Newport, RI, graduating with distinction and earning a Master of Arts degree in National Security and Strategic Studies. In 2005 he was assigned to USSTRATCOM as a Nuclear Command and Control Emergency Action officer, the Standards and Evaluations Branch Chief for Nuclear Command and Control, and the Branch Chief for Distributed Nuclear Operations. En route to USSTRATCOM he attended the Joint & Combined War fighting School (JPME-II) in Norfolk VA. In April of 2007, CDR Higginbotham reported to Naval District Washington and assumed command of the United States Navy Ceremonial Guard (Presidential Honor Guard), representing the Navy in over 5000 ceremonies and funerals in Washington DC and across the country. In April of 2010, he reported to the staff of the OPNAV staff, N2/N6 directorate, as the Resource Sponsor and Requirements Officer for the Navy and Marine Corps Cooperative Engagement Capability Program (CEC). In July of 2012 Commander Higginbotham assumed the duties of Executive Officer of the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps at Kansas University.
Commander Higginbotham has over 3,000 flight hours in the E-2C Hawkeye and British Sea King Whiskey. His personal awards include the Navy Marine Corps Medal, Four Air Medals, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, two Meritorious Service Medals, seven Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, and four Navy Achievement Medals.