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John McKenna

Nov 11, 2022

American Legion Post 27 in Litchfield marked Veterans Day on Friday and in the process recognized three veterans who are graduates of Litchfield High School.

Honored by American Legion Post 27 of Litchfield on Veterans Day were, from left, Dennis Hayes, Karla (Mayo) Japzon and James Langsten. BZ photos

The ceremony held at Post 27 welcomed Karla (Mayo) Japzon, James Langsten and Dennis Hayes. Japzon and Langsten graduated from LHS in 1978 and Hayes graduated in 1980. All served during the Global War and Terror and therefore have earned the right to have their names placed on that war’s monument on the Green.

Each had a chance to speak during the observance and recalled their high school days and desire to leave town and serve. Japzon and Langsten served in the Navy and Hayes in the Air Force. All three knew one another in high school and got in touch last year upon learning that their names weren’t on the monument.

Langsten enlisted in the Navy as a seaman apprentice and completed training in radio school. He was assigned as a radio petty officer 3rd class on the USS Rogers. He also served in Charleston, S.C., Hartford, Earle, N.J., and New Orleans, La. in a career that ended in 1999 as a operating chief and communication officer on the USS Avenger. Langsten lives in Slidell, La.

Japzon enlisted in the Navy in 1981 and after training was assigned to the Naval Air Station in Alameda, Calif., where she met and married Roy Japzon.

“To come full circle to a place I left in 1982, I can’t tell you how good it feels to be home with my fellow veterans,” Japzon said. “That’s what veterans are, family.”

Japzon, a production control clerk, served in the Azores in 1985 and Antarctica beginning in 1988. She was promoted to petty officer 1st class while deployed in Antarctica and later served in Miramar, Calif., as a chief petty officer. She served in the Persian Gulf during Operation Southern Watch. Japzon retired in 1998 and lives in Pensacola, Fla.

Hayes enlisted in the Air Force in 1982 and after being trained as a communications technician served in Scotland, Maine, Germany and England before retiring in 1982 at the rank of master sergeant. Hayes lives in Rochester, N.Y.

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