HILLSBOROUGH, NJ - Just one month after flinging his mortar board into the sky with his Hillsborugh High School classmates, James Langon, Class of 1981, sat in a barber’s chair having his head shaved before he was fitted for a set of government-issue Marine fatigues.
He was 18 years old, and would spend the next several months at boot camp in Parris Island, SC, learning what it takes to be a United States Marine.
The days he spent playing trumpet in the HHS Marching Band and playing football with the Hillsborough Dukes football club were replaced by a grueling routine of rigorous endurance runs, live fire practice, close order drill, endless calisthenics and weapons training .
Langon finished boot camp and was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment (1/8)/Battalion Landing Team (BLT) and soon deployed to Beirut, Lebanon with his unit, part of the US Multinational Force-Lebanon Peacekeeping Mission.
Two years after graduating high school, LCpl. Langon was one of 220 US Marines killed by a suicide bomber in an attack on the US Embassy in Beirut, on Oct. 23, 1983, recently characterized by Vioe President Mike Pence as "the opening salvo in a war that we have waged ever since—the global war on terror."
A total of 241 people were killed in the attack.
Landgon was 20 when he died.
He is buried at Ocean County Memorial Park in Toms River.
Hillsborough Memorial VFW Post #8371 began working on an appropriate method of honoring Langon's service in 2012, according to Tom Cellilli, post commander.
Their efforts soon paid off, with the Hillsborough Township Committee passing a resolution dated March 26, 2014 approving the street name LCpl Langon Way rfor a future housing development.
It has taken four years, and the homes in the neighborhood are still under construction, but the street designated LCpl Langon Way will be the main entrance in to the development known as Amwell Commons/Westerling Place, located on 495-507 Amwell Road, less than a half mile west of Hillsborough High School and about 4.5 miles from where Langon grew up on Woods Road.
Langon’s memory, his service and his sacrifice will be honored Wednesday, June 13 in the township’s Garden of Honor in a formal dedication ceremony hosted by the VFW at 6 p.m. adjacent to the township's Municipal Building, 379 South Branch Road.
Several of his classmates from Hillsborough High School will attend, including Rich Resavy, township director of Public Works, who will speak about his friend.