White Sands Missile Range Hall of Fame

Patrick Higgins
Chief of Data Sciences
Served 1950 – 1981
Inducted 1988

Mr. Patrick J. Higgins was born January 4, 1926. He studied mathematics and engineering at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi, and at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1943 to 1946.

Higgins came to White Sands in 1950 as a physical science aide. As his career progressed, he worked as a mathematician, supervisory mathematician and supervisory physical scientist in the Data Reduction Division of what is now the National Range Operations Directorate. In the late 1960s he served as chief of the support branch of the Analysis and Computation Division and later as chief of the Operations branch of the same division. He assumed the duties as chief of the Data Sciences Division in 1974.

Due largely to Higgins’ foresight, the Data Sciences Division planned and implemented optical data conversion modernization, a video-image analyzer system, a data graphics system and a radar graphics laboratory. These technical advances made White Sands a leader in data processing and improved overall range capabilities.

Higgins was instrumental in acquiring the Real-Time Operations Control System (ROCS) for the range. ROCS allows data to be processed from range instrumentation in real time which ultimately leads to better control of missile flights.

Higgins was respected as a manager. He was noted for his concern about the fair and equal treatment of his employees and was an advocate of Equal Employment Opportunity.

Higgins retired from federal service in 1981.

Mr. Higgins died at his home in Gainesville, Texas on 13 Jan 2004.