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Louis Langlais

My oldest friend, Louis Langlais, died Saturday. He was 45 years old.

I met Louis in the fourth grade on the upper playground at Monte Vista Elementary School. We struck up a fast friendship that lasted until his death Saturday over Afghanistan. Louis was a member of SEAL Team Six. He was among the 30 Americans killed when their helicopter was shot down by a rocket-fired grenade.

Lou lived on Center Avenue, in the Hope Avenue neighborhood. He moved around a lot as a kid, living for a time in Vancouver and then Switzerland. But he always returned to Santa Barbara, where he attended Santa Barbara Middle School and Santa Barbara High School.

Our friendship was based on skateboarding, baseball and weekends spent fishing off the Goleta Pier and Stearns Wharf. Those weekends fishing were the start of his great love of the sea, which grew as he first took up snorkeling and eventually SCUBA diving. Fishing trips to the piers ended when Lou acquired a Hawaiian sling and found fishing that way much easier than using a rod and line. So we were off to the kelp beds of Thousand Steps and Hendry's Beach.

In high school, he discovered his passion for rock climbing. Weekends after that alternated between spear-fishing and climbing at Gibraltar Rock. Lou became an ace climber, free-soloing T-Crack and the Nose - no small feat now, but doubly tough in the Eighties!

Lou made the nightly national newscasts - not to mention Sports Illustrated - on April Fools Day, 1997. He tried to parachute into Pro Player Stadium dressed as the Florida Marlins mascot, Billy the Marlin. The wind tore off his marlin's five-pound head at about 6,000 feet and Louie maneuvered his landing to come down outside the stadium. The head was found in good shape two months later, by the side of the Florida Turnpike.

His love of the ocean and adventure led Louie to join the Navy as a diver. He eventually became a SEAL, attaining the rank of Master Chief in Team Six. He saw action in both wars in Iraq and served many tours in Afghanistan. His body was returned Tuesday, along with those of his comrades, to Dover, Delaware.

He belonged to the Naval Special Warfare Development Group at Dam Neck Annex in Virginia Beach. Lou is survived by his wife and two young sons. Rest in peace, my friend.

Information about memorial donations can be found at the website of the Navy SEAL Foundation HERE or by calling 757-363-7490.

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Comments

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thank you for your ultimate sacrifice...

37087pav (anonymous profile)
August 11, 2011 at 3:12 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I saw Mr. Langlais' name on the list posted during NBC Nightly news tonight. I decided to choose one name and make contact, if I could, with family of that person. I didn't expect to be able to "know" him just a little through a beautiful obituary such as this. Since my son died 17 years ago at age 21, I have learned what grief is like. I wanted to say: I'm sorry. I know very little about the military, but even I know a little about the Navy SEALs. I know that he was a rare individual. I like the part about that April Fools '97 stunt, too. He sounds like a remarkable man with amazing courage and a good sense of humor. My heart goes out to all of you who are grieving for him.

suzz353 (anonymous profile)
August 11, 2011 at 7:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I recall only good memories of Louis as a friend of my family and good friend of my younger brother in the 70's and beyond.

He always had in his eyes an enthusiasm for life and curiosity for the future.

I will remember him with fond memories and imagination of the best for all.

JC.

JoeCaba (anonymous profile)
August 11, 2011 at 9:11 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I remember wonderful times with Louis. We lived across the street from the Langlais in Santa Barbara. Our son Kevin and Louis were great friends and shared many fun adventures. When Louis graduated boot camp Margot (Louis's mom) came down to San Diego where we were then living and I remember how proud Margot was. We send our love to Lucie and Simon and his wife and sons. Louis was a joy to know and he will be missed by all.
Susan Price

susanprice (anonymous profile)
August 13, 2011 at 2:29 p.m. (Suggest removal)

A real American hero.

AZ2SB (anonymous profile)
August 14, 2011 at 8:54 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Heartfelt thanks for these wonderful memories from Lou's dear childhood friend. Thank you so much for sharing these stories. You truly capture the spirit of my brother Lou: with his great sense of humor, his quest for adventure and his love for life. And thanks to all who have commented.

SimonLanglais (anonymous profile)
August 14, 2011 at 4:11 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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