Commander Howell was born in Trenton, Michigan. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and was commissioned at the University of Arizona in 1991 through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps program. After completing flight training in July 1992, he was designated a Naval Flight Officer.
Upon completion of P-3 Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS) training with Patrol Squadron THIRTY-ONE (VP-31), Commander Howell joined the "Blue Geese" of Patrol Squadron TWENTY-TWO (VP-22), homeported at NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii. He joined the squadron mid-way through a U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) deployment in February 1993 where he served in the Maintenance Department as the Line Branch Officer. After the disestablishment of VP-22 in January 1994, Commander Howell transferred to Patrol Squadron NINE. As a "Golden Eagle," he qualified as a Patrol Plane Tactical Coordinator (TACCO), Patrol Plane Mission Commander and an Instructor TACCO. While there, he completed a second CENTCOM deployment and a Japan deployment on a BEARTRAP crew. His ground assignments included Educational Services Officer, Command Managed Equal Opportunity Officer, CNO Special Projects Officer, NFO Training Officer and NFO NATOPS Officer.
Commander Howell reported to Patrol Squadron THIRTY (VP-30) in November 1996; where he served as an FRS Instructor and as the Anti-Surface Warfare Improvement Package (AIP) Fleet Introduction Team Leader, teaching 75% of the Patrol & Reconnaissance Force this important new upgrade to sensors and communications until November 1999.
In December 1999, Commander Howell reported to the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) as the Assistant Strike Officer, completing a Western Pacific/Arabian Gulf deployment. While serving on board the Abraham Lincoln, he qualified as a Current Operations Watch Officer and as an Officer of the Deck (Underway). During this tour, Commander Howell was selected to attend the Naval War College
After detaching from the Abraham Lincoln, Commander Howell reported to the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. Attending the War College for a year, Commander Howell was awarded a Masters Degree in Strategic Studies and National Security Affairs. His next assignment sent him back to VP-30 in November 2002 for refresher training.
After completion of refresher training, he reported to the "Screaming Eagles" of Patrol Squadron ONE at NAS Whidbey Island for department head duty in May 2003. During this tour he completed a Japan deployment and served as Anti-terrorism/Force Protection Officer, Tactics Officer, Training Officer, PATRON detachment Kadena Officer-in-Charge and as Operations Officer
In June 2005, Commander Howell reported to Fleet ASW Command in San Diego as the leader of the Training Department's Theater ASW Syndicate. He is also a plankowner of the command created with the merger of COMMINEWARCOM and FLTASWCOM: Naval Mine and Anti-Submarine Warfare Command (NMAWC).
In June 2008, Commander Howell reported for a Global War on Terror Support Assignment (GSA) as the Assistant Officer-in-Charge of Naval Forces Central Command Forward Headquarters, Kuwait. As the Director of the reception, staging, onward movement and integration (RSO&I) directorate at Camp Virginia, he was responsible for the in-theater processing of Navy Individual Augmentees deploying to Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait.
After his tour of duty in Kuwait, Commander Howell reported as the Officer-in-Charge of the west coast detachment of the Center for Personal and Professional Development in August 2009. He served as the Regional Director for eight geographically separated learning sites and as an instructor teaching Officer Leadership courses.
Commander Howell reported to the University of Michigan Naval Reserve Officers' Training Corps Unit in February 2012 to assume duties as the Executive Officer.
Commander Howell's personal awards include the Meritorious Service Medal (2), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (3), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (4), Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (4) and numerous other service awards and commendations