John Langford, 76, Dies; Air Force Colonel Worked in Logistics

After his retirement from the military, John Langford consulted on logistics for clients including NATO.
After his retirement from the military, John Langford consulted on logistics for clients including NATO. (Family Photo)
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Monday, April 6, 2009

John Langford, 76, a retired Air Force colonel who worked as an assistant inspector general for the Defense Logistics Agency and who later worked as a logistics engineering consultant, died of pulmonary distress on March 22 at Inova Fairfax Hospital. He was a longtime resident of Vienna.

Early in his Air Force career, which began in 1955, Mr. Langford worked as a procurement officer at Edwards Air Force Base, at a time when the California base was a center of research and development for rockets to support missile defense systems and the space program. He also served two tours at the Pentagon.

Overseas, Mr. Langford was assigned to Brussels with the European Office of Aerospace Research and Development and also served in Korea and the Panama Canal Zone. He provided logistics assistance to the Peruvian military during the Chimbote earthquake of 1970 and also served as an adviser to the Imperial Air Force of the shah of Iran. His final Air Force assignment was as assistant inspector general for the Defense Logistics Agency.

After his retirement from the military in 1980, he became a certified professional logistician and certified configuration manager. He began a second career as an international consultant developing and conducting logistics engineering workshops and tutorial programs under the auspices of various professional organizations. As a logistics engineer, he was an expert in the scientific technique of purchasing, transporting, storing and distributing everything from raw materials to finished products. His clients included NATO and international military, commercial and nongovernmental organizations around the world.

He also served as an adjunct professor at Virginia Tech, the Florida Institute of Technology and George Mason University and was the author of "Logistics: Principles and Applications" (1995 and 2007) and co-author of "Supportability Toolkit" (2005).

John William Langford was born in Carrollton, Ky. He received his undergraduate degree in industrial engineering in 1954 from Georgia Tech, where he was editor of a student newspaper. He also received a master's degree in logistics management from the Air Force Institute of Technology in 1965 and a certificate in engineering from the Air War College.

Survivors include his wife of 54 years, Margery Staley Langford of Vienna; and three children, Mary Langford de Donoso of London, Margaret Langford of Los Angeles and Dirk Langford of Brentwood, Tenn.

-- Joe Holley

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