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Dan Hust | Democrat

Posing after the shock and excitement of receiving the Nimitz Award, are, from the left: Steven, David, Linda and Richard Langseder. The ceremony at the Gaylord National Convention Center near Washington, D.C. was attended by over 1,000 guests including high ranking Naval, Marine and Coast Guard officers.

A life ‘in the shadows’ gets honored

By Dan Hust
YANKEE LAKE — September 3, 2010 — As an engineer with 46 years under his belt working as a civilian in close cooperation with the “silent service” of the Navy’s submarine fleet, doing monumental assignments with minimal fanfare was part of Richard Langseder’s job.
But the fanfare did come to the Yankee Lake resident earlier this year: Much to his surprise, he received the distinguished Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz Award, an annual award given by the Navy League of the United States, a civilian organization, for “exemplary leadership in the maritime services. It is the highest award given to a civilian by the League.”
Receiving the award with his wife and sons by his side was not only an honor, but a total shock, he confessed.
In his remarks after receiving the award Langseder noted, “To say that I am overwhelmed to have been selected for such a prestigious award and to have my name associated with that of Admiral Nimitz is an understatement. Engineers and Professionals who support the Naval Nuclear Program and in particular our submarine fleet – ‘the silent service’ – have a mission: To stay below the surface, undetected. Clearly, tonight, I have failed in that mission.”
A 44-year employee of Curtiss-Wright, Langseder started as an engineer and moved to his current position as the senior vice president of business development. Curtiss-Wright’s primary role is to supply all of the valves and pumps for the US Navy’s nuclear powered submarines, aircraft carriers and ships.
The nuclear powered aircraft carriers are of paramount importance as a line of defense and assistance. Langseder remarked that in a time of turmoil the President of the United States will first ask, “Where are my carriers?”
Roots in sullivan county
As a third generation resident of Yankee Lake, Langseder loves the quiet, beauty, and history of Sullivan County.
Perhaps it is the importance of his job that makes the simple beauty of bald eagles, green trees and private Yankee Lake so serene.
It might also be the nearly 100-year history the Langseders have as residents of Sullivan County: Richard’s grandfather George owned a gas station “on old Old Route 17” (as he put it) in Wurtsboro in the early 1920s. His grandmother Eva was known to serve tea in a small room at the garage while cars were being repaired. During the Depression they owned chickens and had Langseder’s Dairy.
Richard, although raised in Brooklyn near Coney Island, spent every summer at his beloved Yankee Lake. Now, Langseder and his wife Linda split their time between Hockessin, Delaware where Richard continues to be employed, and Yankee Lake. Their two sons, also engineers, have homes in the area.
Richard was able to help unite two opposing groups at Yankee Lake and help merge them into one civic organization – The Yankee Lake Preservation Association (YLPA), where he is honored to serve as a Director Emeritus.
‘Awesome Responsibility’
After graduating from The City College of New York (CCNY) with Bachelor of Civil Engineering Degree (BCE) in 1964, he took a job as a Research and Development Engineer at General Dynamics/Electric Boat Division in Groton, CT.
That was shortly “after the terrible loss of the ‘Thresher,’ where we lost 112 naval personnel and 17 civilians,” Langseder said in his speech. “That experience – the intense investigations following the loss of the Thresher… have stayed with me throughout my career. We must never forget, for one day, that the lives of our sailors depend upon the integrity and quality of the systems and equipment we supply.”
Langseder is proud of his role of ensuring the safety and security of the men and women who serve the United States in this capacity. He is just as grateful for his success in this function of his job as he is for the praise and award bestowed upon him.
On the shores of a lake made in 1828 to feed the D+H Canal you’ll find a man whose life in Sullivan County grew from seeds planted in the 1920s by a local businessman and his wife.
That local history, coupled with the prestige and honor of the 2010 Nimitz Award, makes Richard Langseder one of the notable residents of Sullivan County: an unassuming, yet elite group.

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