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Andrew Jackson Higgins
(1886 - 1952)
Born in Columbus, Nebraska

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in 1964, Dwight D. Eisenhower called Andrew Jackson Higgins "the man who won the war for us".  Without Higgins's famous landing crafts (LCPs, LCPLs, LCVPs, LCMs) the strategy of World War II would have been much different and winning the war much more difficult.

Higgins was born in Columbus, Nebraska, on August 28, 1886.  His early life was spent along the Loup and Platte Rivers near the city.  Perhaps his interest in shallow draft boats was born on these shallow, sandbar-infested rivers. His interest in shallow draft boats, the type you
would see on these rivers, was a life-long influence.  As a youngster in Columbus, he started a lawn mowing business and tried to corner the market on lawn services in the town
The Higgins Family moved to Omaha, Nebraska, during the late 1890's where Higgins attended Creighton Prep High School.  Later Creighton University awarded him an honorary degree.  He built his first boat in the basement of their Omaha home. Unfortunately he had overlooked the technicality of having to remove the boat from the basement, and a wall had to be knocked down in order to get his boat to water. His independence and self -

assurance became obvious as his high school and college days were marked by conflict with authority figures.

In the early 1900's Higgins joined the Nebraska National Guard and served as an infantry officer. Higgins then moved south to pursue opportunities in the lumber business. In order to get to the stands of hardwood trees in the back swamps of Louisiana, he developed a shallow draft boat. This design would later help the nation win a war.

In the 1930's Higgins created Higgins Industries of New Orleans and designed the famous Eureka boat. The design features of this craft would be used in the LCVPs (Land Craft Vehicle Personnel) of World War II.

Prior to WWII, Higgins had traveled to the Philippines to acquire stocks of mahogany (a primary material for his boats)

with his own capital.  He realized that steel would be in short supply should a war break out, and in that case he would be far ahead in actual production of landing craft.

During the war, his company produced over 20,000 boats for the war effort, including the famous LCVP, more often called the Higgins boat. This landing craft participated in every major invasion of the war, including North Africa, Sicily, Italy, D-Day at Normandy, and the islands of the Pacific, including Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Saipan, Tinian, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa.

Socially, Higgins and his company were ahead of the times. Higgins Industries employed blacks and whites, men and women, paying them all equally. In turn, the workers produced a world class product that helped win the war.

Andrew Jackson Higgins died on August 1, 1952. He is buried in Metairie Cemetery just outside of New Orleans.

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