Veteran’s Spotlight

Howard Langdon

Langdon enlisted in the U.S. Army in September 1983 and remained in the Army until February 1994. “Growing up, I know the military was going to be a part of my life. I enlisted to serve my country and to be a part of something bigger than myself,” Langdon said.

Basic and advanced individual training (AIT) was at Ft. Bliss in El Paso, Texas. Langdon was the Distinguished Honor Graduate from AIT as a surface-to-air guided missile crew member.

His first assignment was to the Federal Republic of Germany, where his company was located at a remote site, almost an hour away from other American forces.

After 18 months, he was sent back to Ft. Bliss and assigned to a united called ADATS: Army Development and Acquisition of Threat Simulators. According to his agreement with the army, “that is all I am allowed to say about that assignment.”

“After my first three years, I was sent to Ft. McClellan, Alabama, for military police school. Upon completion of training, I was again sent to Germany for a three-year assignment,” he said. He served in numerous positions: clerk, responsible for answering the phone and typing the daily police blotter; desk sergeant, responsible for dispatching officers to complaints and reviewing their reports. For a short time, Langdon was the non-commissioned officer (NCO) in charge of the vehicle registration office. “The position I held the longest was the traffic accident investigator, responsible for reviewing all accident reports and investigating all fatal accidents involving U.S. service members or their families,” Langdon stated.

When his initial three years were almost over, he volunteered to stay in Germany for another two. “I moved four times in my first three years of army life, and was not excited about moving again so soon,” Langdon noted.

His final 18 months were spent at Ft. Polk, Louisiana, as a squad leader and patrol shift supervisor. While at Ft. Polk, he spent 4½ months in Honduras “helping to build a school.”

“I would not change a thing about being in the army,” Langdon said. “I would do it again. I would even do it today, if I could. I learned a lot about people from other cultures and walks of life. I look back on those years and marvel at all the wonderful places I have been and the things I have seen. I would not have had those experiences otherwise.”

“I was once face to face with a Russian soldier,” he continued. “Before I left Germany the second time, the Berlin Wall fell. Four months later, I took a trip to Berlin. The border between west and east Germany was still guarded by the Russians and we were still required to show proper authorization to cross the border.” Langdon even chipped out a few pieces of the wall, which he still has.

In June 1994, he was hired by Elkhart County, working in the county jail for 5½ years and as a 911 dispatcher since January 2000.

He and his wife have five children and nine grandchildren. Two of their children were born in Germany, one at an Air Force hospital and the other in a German hospital, he said.

“Now that the kids are on their own, we enjoy traveling, but always look forward to spending time with the kids and grandkids. We would love to return to Germany and explore more historical places, especially in the former East Germany,’ Langdon said.

Langdon’s awards include: Good Conduct Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Overseas Ribbon, NCO Professional Development Ribbon, National Defense Service Ribbon.