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Veteran's Day

U of U Veterans Medallion


Branch: Army
Theatre: Vietnam / Iraq

On April 22, 1969, just two months before he graduated from high school, Lynn Higgins joined the United States Army. After completing basic training, he moved on to primary helicopter flight school at Fort Wolters, Texas.

While training at the Advanced Flight School, two months prior to his graduation, Higgins received deployment orders. In September, 1970, he arrived in Vietnam as the newest soldier assigned to B Troop, 7th Squadron, 1st Air Cavalry Division, 1st Aviation Brigade.

While in Vietnam, Higgins flew the OH-6 light observation helicopter nicknamed the “Loach” that provided fire support as part of the Hunter-Killer Team. Their mission was to attain contact with the enemy with the goal to engage and destroy, gain intelligence, develop the situation, survey and scrub landing zones in order to bring in ground troops.

As a Loach scout pilot, also known as “The Buckskin Scouts”, Higgins endured the most dangerous aviation mission in Vietnam. Quoted as a 22-year-old Warrant Officer in an article written in 1971 by the New York Times during his time in Vietnam: “I’ve brought aircraft back, three days in a row with holes in them.” Like most other Buckskin Scouts, Higgins also “watched aircraft take hits, begin to falter, and then listened to fellow pilots in stricken planes speak their last radio messages.”

After Higgins left Vietnam in 1971, he joined the Utah National Guard and served in several Army Aviation units and positions. Four years later, he signed-on fulltime with the Guard as an Aviation Trainer where he qualified to fly most if not all helicopters and planes in the Utah Guard inventory.

From March 2006 thru August 2007, Higgins was deployed to Iraq with the Utah National Guard’s A Company, 2nd Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment. While assigned to Task Force Red Falcon, he commanded special Night Air Assault operations that carried specially trained soldiers to hunt for Al Qaeda fighters throughout Iraq. These challenging and dangerous missions were flown at night, low level 500 ft., and often obstructed by windblown dust.

Higgins retired from the Utah National Guard as the Deputy State Aviation Officer in 2010, after logging in 14,689 flying hours. His exceptional military service spanned 40 years.

Higgins truly exemplifies the Warrior Ethos by sharing a personal thought: “I have been honored and privileged throughout my career to have served with so many real American Heroes.”

Honor A Veteran

Selections are only based on the nominee's military service
Nominees do not have to be alumni or associated with the university in any way. Each year, the committee selects eleven honorees based on noteworthy honor, courage, commitment, and sacrifice during their military service to our nation, but decorations for valor are not required. Selections are only based on the nominee's military service.