Arc, the Howard Angel Sings
December 27, 2013
CAMP SHELBY, Miss. - With the voice of an angel, the skills of a well-trained soldier and his faith in God, Staff Sgt. John Howard, chaplain's assistant for the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, prepares for his third deployment.
"I grew up in Torrance, Calif.," explained Howard, "and when it came time for me to decide, it was either initiating in a gang and getting involved with the drugs and violence therein, or the military. I chose something better for myself. The military saved my life, and started it down a better path than I had seen growing up."
Serving seven years active duty, in Germany and all over the United States as a supply specialist, Howard joined the National Guard after being separated from the military for 15 years.
"9/11 was a course changer for me," explains Howard. "I knew right then that I wanted to help people once again."
Howard said after that, he got super involved in his ministry for a few years and after many nights of prayer, he told his wife he wanted to join back up. With her full support behind him, he went and saw a recruiter and knew it was "meant to be" because the only military job specialty available was chaplain's assistant. So Howard signed the dotted line in service to his country once again.
This being Howard's second deployment to Afghanistan as a chaplain's assistant, Maj. David Burris, chaplain with the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, said he could not ask for a better assistant. "He truly is the best in the state. I know that no matter what I ask him, that it will get done better than I expected it to be. He is a great NCO and an even better soldier because he truly loves and is here for the soldiers."
Howard, says God has blessed him beyond all measure with all the support he has back home.
"Well, my ultimate support is God, but next to him, it's my wife, family and job," said Howard. "My wife has always stood beside me, from the first time we sat next to each other in the back of church after running into each other at Walmart at 2 a.m. the night before."
Howard said his job was "simply phenomenal." This being his second deployment since being employed with them, the first one coming after only three months of him being hired, he says they have supported him to the fullest.
Working for the Sumter County Corrections Department, Howard said they not only call his wife weekly to check on her, but if she needs anything she knows she can call them and they will do all they can to help her out.
The Howard family serving their country continues with Cody, his 23-year-old son, who is currently contemplating joining the active duty Army. And 21-year-old daughter, Katrina, is attending South West Georgia majoring in education.