William “Bill” Herbert Howey enlisted in the U.S. Army on April 27, 1947, out of Wichita, KS. He dedicated more than 20 years of service to the military. Enlisting as an Engineer, he was deployed for an accumulation of two years. Throughout his service, he served on multiple deployments to Europe and Asia to support rebuilding and stabilizing areas after World War II. He was later deployed twice to support the Korean Conflict between 1950 and 1955 and fought in Vietnam in 1966-1967.

Throughout his honorable and distinguished career, Sergeant Major Howey was awarded many honors and medals, including the National Defense Service Medal (With Oak Leaf Cluster), Army Commendation Medal, Vietnam Service Medal (With Oak Leaf Cluster), Vietnam Campaign Medal, two Overseas Bars, and Meritorious Unit Commendation. He was awarded a Bronze Star and Air Medal for his courageous efforts in Vietnam. He actively participated in more than 25 aerial missions over hostile territory to support counterinsurgency operations. His extensive knowledge and adaptability were critical in helping to free the Republic of Vietnam of the communist threat to its freedom.

After retirement from the service, Bill moved to Kansas with his wife and their family of four children, where he worked as a millwright throughout Kansas. In 1986, he was summoned to return to active duty to help train recruits; however, due to his time in the service and his exposure to many toxins and situations that were detrimental to his health, he suffered a major stroke that left half of his body paralyzed. He was later diagnosed with widely metastatic cancer that had spread throughout his body and succumbed to his illness on May 30, 1989.

Character Strength Story:

HUMOR - I cannot begin to thank my grandpa enough for his selfless devotion and sacrifices to the United States Army, the United States, and its allies, will forever be a hero to this great nation and the freedoms that we enjoy today.

I was only alive five years before my grandpa passed away. However, in those five years, I admired the man I would eventually and ultimately try to live up to. We had a unique bond as a grandson and a grandfather because of my family situation. We spent a lot of time together, and he quickly taught me about respect and how to be mischievously funny. My grandmother was known for her cookie houses, especially around Christmas time. However, she would have these popcorn tins that would be recycled as her candy stashes. Grandpa knew. I knew, but I also knew I wasn’t supposed to touch it, and I think Grandpa knew that, too. The workaround was that he would tell me that I could grab it for him. So, I would grab the candy tin and happily bring it over to him so we could devour the precious doorknobs, window dressings, chairs, and tables that would never be made. No matter how many times we did it, when Grandma would ask, “Has someone been eating the candy?” He would quickly blame me with a wink and a smile. Throughout the years, I found out that grandma knew who the real culprit was and that she would always play along because it was our thing. After having his stroke in 1986, he changed in a lot of ways, both physically and emotionally. He did, however, still have his sense of humor.

I still think about that now and how it’s ok to be a little naughty now and then…and if need be, just blame the one that was with you.

—Submitted by James, Surviving Grandson


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