Former OU Army ROTC Cadet Colonel Named Patriot of the Game


Former OU Army ROTC Cadet Colonel Named Patriot of the Game

The OU College of Professional and Continuing studies recently honored an Army veteran and former OU Army ROTC cadet as Patriot of the Game. Col. William F. Higgins, Jr., of Norman, was honored during OU’s spring football game held April 24 at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.

Higgins, who was nominated by his wife Lori, was recognized on the field and featured in a video shown on the stadium’s jumbo screens.

“It was a tremendous honor to be recognized by the University of Oklahoma as the Patriot of the Game,” Higgins said. “Being born and raised in Oklahoma and being a graduate of OU made this a truly special event for me and my family.”

“It was a tremendous honor to be recognized by the University of Oklahoma as the Patriot of the Game,” Higgins said. “Being born and raised in Oklahoma and being a graduate of OU made this a truly special event for me and my family.”

Higgins' military career began in 1973, when he joined the Army as an enlisted soldier. In 1977, he separated from the Army as a staff sergeant to attend OU, where he became a cadet in the OU Army ROTC program. While at OU, Higgins served as the OU Army ROTCS cadet colonel, before graduating from the OU College of Education in 1980 as a distinguished military graduate and receiving his commission as second lieutenant in the Army Signal Corp.

One of the highlights of his 30-year military career is being credited with the development and implementation of the SCUD missile early warning launch notification system during Operation Desert Storm. The system provided all military personnel in the region the opportunity to prepare for possible chemical attacks and seek cover from conventional munitions. The system later evolved to provide early warning to Patriot missile systems to intercept SCUD missiles before impacting their targets. Higgins also served as Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf’s personal communications officer during the Desert Shield/Desert Storm campaign.

Higgins held positions of company in the 25th Infantry Division and battalion command in U.S. Army Alaska. He served as director of military enlisted personnel at U.S. Army Personnel Command where he was responsible for managing the assignment, training, promotion and retirement of over 29,000 Army Signal Corps soldiers.

While assigned to the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) in Washington, D.C., Higgins helped rebuild the Army Command Center at the Pentagon after it was destroyed on 9/11. He also served as the director of technological services consolidation on the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Committee for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

After retiring from the Army in 2005, Higgins continued to serve the military as a defense department contractor, providing communications, weapons and intelligence systems to all branches of the military all over the world. He retired from the industry in 2014.

Higgins said being named Patriot of the Game is a day he will never forget.

“Having been the former cadet colonel of the OU Army ROTC program as a student made this a real homecoming for me,” Higgins said. “I have always been honored to represent OU and the Army in all my professional endeavors and was most humbled by the recognition I received.”

Presented by the OU College of Professional and Continuing Studies, Patriot of the Game honors military service members at home football games, as well as various men’s and women’s basketball games, baseball games and softball games.

Patriot of the Game is just one of many ways PACS serves military families. PACS is a leader in military education with more than 55 years of experience supporting the education needs of service members worldwide. PACS brings the excellence of OU degrees and programs to students, wherever they may be. Visit our website for more information on our degrees and our offerings for service members.

Do you know someone who deserves to be Patriot of the Game? To nominate a service member, visit patriot.pacs.ou.edu and tell us why.

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Tami Althoff

Tami Althoff holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism. She is a reporter with more than 20 years’ experience working for newspapers, including The Oklahoman. She has covered everything from breaking news to local music and art. She loves sports, especially OU football and basketball games, where she often embarrasses her children by yelling too loudly.