Local brothers brought together during Vietnam War

Two local brothers who served in the military during the Vietnam War wound up stationed in Danang for close to a year together. The Higby brothers were in different branches of the military and lived in very different conditions during their time in Vietnam, said Ted Higby, now of Hagerstown.

Ted Higby was an infantry Marine later trained in the launch and recovery

A 1966 Morgan Messenger clipping of Jess David Higby’s service in Vietnam

of aircraft. He was stationed in Danang in March of 1966. His older brother, David Higby, was an Air Force administrator who got stationed in Danang in June of that same year.

“He worked in a Quonset hut and I lived in a tent,” Ted Higby joked.

David Higby has written to his younger brother to say he was going to be sent to Danang. Ted Higby said he volunteered to stay there for another six months with his brother, but their mother had heart problems, and his extension was cut short. The brothers met up when they could, including on Christmas of 1966.

Ted Higby recalled getting sopping wet “wading across the runway at Danang” to reach his brother. As he crossed the runway, he remembers seeing a big cargo Flying Tiger get shot down.

“I saw a lot of aircraft crash, saw them drop rockets and crash land as they came in,” said Higby. “We got mortared quite a lot. They called it Rocket City. We got hit with Russian-made rockets.”

A third Higby brother – Sid – was in the Army during the Vietnam War.

“I wrote to Senator Byrd to get his orders changed because his wife was pregnant,” said Ted Higby.

The Higby brothers graduated from Berkeley Springs High School. Their father, Jess Higby Jr. was the State Police detachment commander in Berkeley Springs from 1959 to 1969. Their mother was Irene Higby.

After the Marine Corps, Ted Higby went on to varied careers. He became a police officer in Fredericksburg, Va. and then joined the Delaware State Troopers. After law enforcement, Higby went to seminary and became a Methodist pastor for 34 years. In 1985, he returned to active duty with the Army to serve four years as a chaplain at Fort Lee, Va. and two Army bases in Germany.

Ted Higby lives in Hagerstown and is the father of four. His brother, David, lives in Ohio.

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