Howard was born on May 5th, 2329 in Scottsdale, Arizona. Howard entered Starfleet Academy in 2347. Howard had an IQ of 168, which made him one of the smartest people at Starfleet Academy. His professors were so impressed with his knowledge of starship operations that he was made an Ensign in only his second year at the Academy. After spending another two years at the Academy, Howard graduated in 2351, with honors in quantum chemistry and science. He was assigned to the USS Gettysburg shortly after graduation with the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade, under the command of Captain Mark Jameson.
During the next several years of his Starfleet career, Howard displayed remarkable courage and leadership, during when he and Jameson were to head down to a planet's surface in a shuttle when its landing thrusters were destroyed by a storm. Howard was able to stay calm and manually landed the shuttle for a rough landing. For this action, Jameson put in a promotion for Howard and he was promoted to Lieutenant.
In 2354, Howard had served on the Gettysburg for three years and Starfleet gave him a new promotion to Lieutenant Commander and given first officer duties on the Gettysburg. In 2356, after saving the son of an Andorian diplomat from death from a group of renegade Romulans, Howard was promoted again to Commander.
After serving in Starfleet for eleven years and decorated numerous times, he was promoted to Captain and was given command of the USS Livingston, a Miranda-class starship in 2358. Commander Chakotay was assigned as his first officer. The ship's first mission was charting a nebula deep in Cardassian space and investigating unnatural space anomalies.
In 2378, Howard witnessed the USS Voyager emerge from a Borg sphere while the Livingston was patrolling the Sol System. He was able to greet his old friend Chakotay when he returned from seven years in the Delta Quadrant. Howard continued to command the Livingston for three more years, before accepting a promotion to Rear Admiral in 2382.