U.S. Army Operational Testers' Hall of Fame

  Dr. Virgil Henson, Jr.


Inducted October 4, 1995

June 22, 1929 - May 29, 1995

Technical Assistant to System Test Director,
HQ, MASSTER, Fort Cavazos, Texas, 1971

Chief, Quality Control and Analysis Division,
HQ, MASSTER, Fort Cavazos, Texas, 1972-1977

Technical Director, HQ, MASSTER,
Fort Cavazos, Texas, 1977-1989

Deputy Chief of Staff, Methodology and Analysis, TEXCOM
Fort Cavazos, Texas, 1989-1990


Prior to his untimely death in May 1995, Dr. Henson devoted the majority of his life to public service - first as an Army officer, and then as a civil servant.  For more than 23 years, he was directly involved in operational testing.

A charter member of the Project Mobile Army Sensor System Test, Evaluation and Review (assigned to Project MASSTER in March 1, 1971), Dr. Henson assumed the duties of Operational Research Analyst and served as a technical assistant to the System Test Director, where he was directly involved in designing and conducting numerous major weapons system tests.

With the re-designation to Headquarters, Modern Army Selected Systems Test, Evaluation and Research (MASSTER), Henson served as Chief of Quality Control and Analysis Division, where he was responsible for the technical content of all MASSTER reports.

Shortly after MASSTER was re-designated to TRADOC Combined Arms Test Activity (TCATA), Henson became the Technical Director of TCATA, where he directed development of plans, monitored execution, and produced reports of the Army's proposed restructured division, which led to Division 86.  He was also directly involved in the Operational Test III of the XM-1 Main Battle Tank.

From 1980 to his retirement as a GS-15 from Civil Service on December 31, 1989, Dr. Henson served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Methodology and Analysis, Test and Experimentation Command (TEXCOM).  In that capacity, he was the principal advisor to the TEXCOM Commander for the quality assurance of the total TEXCOM product.

Among his numerous significant achievements, Dr. Henson laid the groundwork, developed guidance, and developed the details that culminated in the establishment of the TRADOC Test Officer's Orientation Course in December 1981.  That course has since evolved into the ATEC Test and Evaluation Course.

He functioned as an operational test expert, action officer, and advisor during 1988 and 1989 on the efforts to establish more efficient and effective procedures for planning and coordination of operational test and evaluation programs.  This included major revisions to the primary regulations governing operational test and evaluation.

Dr. Henson organized the Lone Star Chapter of the International Test and Evaluation Association, and served as its founder and first president.

However, his greatest benefit to Army operational testing was in his role as mentor and teacher to the literally hundreds of test officers and analysts with whom he came in contact.

Dr. Henson's leadership, professionalism, competence, drive, and spirit inspired all who served with him, for him, and around him.  As such, he has left a legacy to the operational testing community that will not be equaled.