Ken Higdon was born in 1943 at Fort Bliss, Texas. He enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve on July 8, 1964, and served at NAS Los Alamitos and NAS Alameda, California, before entering the U.S. Naval School of Pre-Flight at NAS Pensacola, Florida, on April 21, 1965, earning his commission as an Ensign on December 16, 1965. Ens Higdon completed pre-flight training in September 1965, and then attended Basic Naval Aviation Observer training at NAS Pensacola from September to December 1965. He attended Bombardier/Navigator training with RVAH-3 at NAS Sanford, Florida, from January to March 1966, followed by instrument training with VA-43 at NAS Oceana, Virginia, from March to April 1966. LtJg Higdon then attended A-6 Intruder Bombardier/Navigator Fleet Replacement training with VA-42 at NAS Oceana from April to September 1966, and served as an A-6A Bombardier/Navigator with VA-65 at NAS Oceana, Virginia, from September 1966 to October 1969, including flying combat in Southeast Asia while deployed aboard the aircraft carrier USS Constellation (CVA-64) from September to November 1966, aboard the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal (CVA-59) during July 1967, and aboard the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63) from January to August 1969. LT Higdon next served as an instructor at NAS Kingsville, Texas, from October 1969 to December 1971, followed by A-6 Fleet Replacement training with VA-128 at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington, from January to May 1972. He served as an A-6B Bombardier/Navigator with VA-196 at NAS Whidbey Island and deployed aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVAN-65) from June 1972 until he was forced to eject over North Vietnam and was taken as a Prisoner of War on December 21, 1972. After spending 54 days in captivity, LT Higdon was released during Operation Homecoming on February 12, 1973. He was briefly hospitalized to recover from his injuries from February to October 1973 at the Naval Hospital at Oak Knoll, California, and from October to December 1973 at the Naval Hospital at Whidbey Island, Washington. LT Higdon then attended the Naval Postgraduate School at Monterey, California, from January 1974 to September 1975, followed by A-6 Fleet Replacement training with VA-42 at NAS Oceana from October 1975 to May 1976. His next assignment was as an A-6 Bombardier/Navigator and Admin Officer for VA-34 at NAS Oceana from May 1976 to June 1978, and he then served on the staff of the Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet at Norfolk from June 1978 to June 1981. After attending additional training, LCDR Higdon served with the pre-commisisoning unit for the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70), from August 1981 to March 1982, and remained aboard as ship's company when she was commissioned on March 13, 1982, serving aboard her until October 1983. His final assignment was at NAS Beeville, Texas, from November 1983 until he retired from the Navy on September 1, 1986.
His Bronze Star Medal w/Valor Citation reads:
For meritorious service while interned as a Prisoner of War in North Vietnam from December 1972 to March 1973. Under the most adverse of conditions, he never wavered in his devotion and loyalty to the United States and his fellow prisoners. Despite the adversities of confinement, he performed such duties and responsibilities as assigned by superiors and required of the Code of Conduct in an exemplary and highly professional manner. Displaying extraordinary courage, resourcefulness, and dedication throughout this period of imprisonment, he reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Naval Service and the United States Armed Forces.
The Combat Distinguishing Device is authorized.