Gen. Truman Hempel Landon

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Gen. Truman Hempel Landon

Also Known As: "hemple"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Maryville, Nodaway County, Missouri, United States
Death: January 27, 1986 (80)
San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas, United States (Stroke)
Place of Burial: 5136 Eagle Drive, Air Force Academy, El Paso County, CO, 80840, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Perry Oliver Landon and Hellene Hempel Landon
Husband of Willda Landon
Ex-husband of Private
Father of Private User; Private and Perry Landon
Brother of Private
Half brother of Jean Ashworth and Joie Genta, Russell

Occupation: United States Air Force
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Gen. Truman Hempel Landon

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US Air Force General. He was the Commander-in Chief of the US Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) from 1961 to 1963 and is also remembered as the leader of a flight of unarmed B-17 Flying Fortress bomber aircraft whose arrival in Hawaii on the morning of December 7, 1941 coincided with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Born in Maryville, Missouri, he grew up in Carlinville, Illinois. After graduating from Carlinville High School in 1922, he attended Blackburn College there until 1924, when he received an appointment to the US Military Academy at West Point, New York. He graduated in 1928 with a commission as a second lieutenant and received his pilot wings and observer training at Kelly Field (now part of Joint Base San Antonio), Texas. His first assignment was with the 3rd Attack Group at Fort Crockett, Texas.

He then served as a flying instructor from 1932 to 1936 at Randolph Field (now part of Joint Base San Antonio) and with the 6th Bomb Group at France Field in the Panama Canal Zone from 1937 to 1939. As the commander of the 38th Reconnaissance Squadron from 1939 to 1942, he participated in the first mass flight of B-17s from Hamilton Field, California (now closed), to Hickam Field (now Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam), Hawaii, on May 13, 1941. As a major, on December 7, 1941 while en route to the Philippine Islands with another flight of B-17 aircraft, he stumbled into the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, low on fuel and without ammunition. For his evasive actions that day he received the Silver Star. During World War II he commanded the 7th Bomber Command in the Central Pacific as well as a Joint Task Group under US Navy Admiral Chester Nimitz. With the exception of a tour of duty with the Caribbean Air Command (now inactivated), his post-World War II assignments were divided between Headquarters US Air Force at Washington, DC and Germany. He served in the National Security Council Report-68 study group in 1949, which helped to shape US foreign policy in the Cold War for the next 20 years.

From March 1951 until August 1953 he served as deputy commander-in-chief and chief of staff for USAFE at Wiesbaden Air Base, Germany. In June 1956, he became the commander of the Caribbean Air Command at Albrook Air Force Base (now closed), Canal Zone, remaining there until August 1959. While in Washington DC he was the senior air instructor and later commandant of the Army and Navy Staff College. Other positions he served at Headquarters US Air Force include Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Inspector General, and Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel. In June 1961 he was promoted to the rank of general and the following month he became the Commander-in-Chief of USAFE, retiring in that position on July 1, 1963, with 35 years of active military service in the US Airy Air Corps and US Air Force. Among his military decorations and awards beside the Silver Star include the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, the Air medal with two oak leaf clusters, the National Defense Service Medal, the Army of Occupation Medal, the American Defense Service Medal, the American campaign Medal, the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal.

He was a rated command pilot with over 7,800 flying hours. In January 1980 he received a Doctor of Laws Degree from Long Island University, New York. In the 1970 film "Tora! Tora! Tora!," that dramatized the story of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, he was portrayed by actor Norman Alden. He died at the age of 80.

Died the day the Space Shuttle Challenger blew up.

' http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truman_H._Landon

Truman Hempel Landon was born in Maryville, Mo., in 1905, and grew up in Carlinville, Ill. After graduation from the Carlinville High School in 1922, he attended Blackburn College in that city and, in 1924, entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. He graduated from the academy in 1928 and received his pilot and observer ratings at Kelly Field, Texas, Feb. 15, 1930. General Landon is currently a command pilot with more than 7,800 hours. Following two years with the 3rd Attack Group at Fort Crockett, Texas, he served as a flying instructor from 1932-1936 at Randolph Field and with the Sixth Bomb Group at France Field in the Canal Zone from 1937 to 1939.

The commander of the 38th Reconnaissance Squadron from 1939 to 1942, General Landon participated in the first mass flight of B-17s from Hamilton Field, Calif., to Hickam Field, Hawaii, May 13, 1941. On Dec. 7, 1941 while enroute to the Philippine Islands in command of the 38th Squadron, General Landon arrived at Hickam Field, Hawaii, during the Japanese attack. During World War II he commanded the Seventh Bomber Command in the Central Pacific. While commanding general of the Seventh Bomber Command he also commanded a Joint Task Group under Admiral Nimitz. With the exception of a tour of duty with the Caribbean Air Command, General Landon has divided all of his time from December 1944 until today between Washington, D.C., and Germany.

From March 1951 until August 1953 he served as deputy commander-in-chief and chief of staff for USAFE at Wiesbaden, Germany. In June 1956, he assumed command of the Caribbean Air Command, Albrook Air Force Base, Canal Zone, where he remained until August 1959. His Washington duties have been varied. He was the senior air instructor and later commandant of the Army and Navy Staff College. Other assignments included assistant deputy chief of staff for operations, inspector general and deputy chief of staff for personnel, all with Headquarters U.S. Air Force. He assumed command of the 4th Allied Tactical Air Forces and U.S. Air Forces in Europe on July 1, 1961, succeeding General Federic H. Smith Jr., who was named vice chief of staff, Headquarters U.S. Air Force.

OTHER ACHIEVEMENTS

Silver Star citation reads in part, "For gallantry in action, conspicuous bravery and coolness in handling airplane and in leading his echelon during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941." Doctor of Laws conferred by Long Island University, Jan. 29, 1960.

INTERESTS \
Golf is his favorite sport. Plays in the seventies. He became interested in electronics while building a hi-fi set in 1958 and has been taking self-study courses in this subject for the past two years both as a means of increasing his understanding and as a form of mental relaxation. Maintains a keen interest in foreign affairs. Speaks German and Spanish fluently. While overseas made a number of public speeches in those languages. Regards Latin American nations as particularly important and is an authority on military and political affairs in that area.

DECORATIONS AND MEDALS

Distinguished Service Medal Silver Star Legion of Merit Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters Army of Occupation Medal American Defense Service Medal American Campaign Medal Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal National Defense Service Medal World War II Victory Medal

CIVIC AND RELIGIOUS ACTIVITIESA member of the Army-Navy Club, Washington, D.C.; Columbia Golf and Country Club, Chevy Chase, Md.; and a member of the Order of the Daedalians, Flight Number 7 (The Los Angeles Flight). Religious Preference: Baptist. Believes Sunday should be a "family" day. Attends church regularly and, whenever possible, devotes this day to family activities. Prefers dark conservative clothes, likes Mexican food, and has acquired an extensive collection of Latin American folk records. Considers precision of language important. Objects strenuously to split infinitives.

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=fls&FLid=10781674

Flight Into History at Pearl Harbor

In 1939, Landon became commander of the 38th Reconnaissance Squadron (Heavy) at Hamilton Field, CA. In that role, on 13 May 1941, he participated in the first mass flight of B-17s from Hamilton Field, CA, to Hickam Field, HI. On 6 December 1941, in response to the growing crisis in the Pacific, Major Landon's squadron departed Hamilton Field with four B-17Cs and two new B-17Es that were to be delivered to Clark Field in the Philippines to reinforce the American Far East Air Force there. They were scheduled to refuel at Hickam Field. His planes departed at 2-minute intervals beginning around 8:00 PM Saturday night. To conserve fuel for the long 14-hour flight to Hawaii, the planes were at staggered altitudes and all unnecessary items were stripped from the aircraft. So although the B-17s had the normal compliment of big machineguns, they carried no ammunition, planning to pick it up in Oahu.

Ahead of Landon was the B-17 piloted by Captain R.T. Swenson and it was now rounding Diamond Head and preparing to land at Hickam. Gazing across the large Hawaiian coast line from his own high-altitude perspective, Major Landon noticed a group of nine planes flying north. At first he thought it was a reception committee to greet his B-17s and escort them to Hickam Field. His pleasant thoughts were shattered by a sudden burst of machinegun fire as the nine planes flashed past him on the way back to their aircraft carrier; their red circles of the Empire of Japan glowing in the morning sun. Landon quickly pulled up into the clouds to escape pursuit.

In Captain Swenson's B-17, the crew noticed that Henderson Field was shrouded in smoke but thought the locals were burning sugarcane; all were totally unaware of the battle taking place below them. The landing gear was lowered and the B-17 had dropped to 600 feet for final approach before the crew got a good look at the airfield, now fully under attack. Japanese Zeroes zoomed in to rake their B-17 with a stream of tracers. It was too late to pull up and abort, so Swenson steeled himself against the impending inferno and stayed on course. In the rear of the bomber, Flight Surgeon 1st Lieutenant William Schick cried out, "Damn it! Those are real bullets they're shooting. I'm hit in the leg." Smoke filled the cockpit as the B-17 dropped earthward then hit hard on what was left of the runway; breaking the big bomber completely in half. In that moment Captain Swenson's B-17 gained the dubious distinction of being the first American airplane to be shot down in World War II; and Lieutenant Schick became the first American airman killed in the air in an American airplane.

In the clouds above Oahu, Landon had few options left. His B-17 was low on fuel and there was no place to run. On the radio he requested landing information from the tower below. Almost calmly the voice at the other end provided wind direction, velocity, direction of approach and the runway on which to land. "Be advised," the radio operator continued, "we are under attack by unidentified air planes." Having no other options, Landon nosed forward towards the smoke and the rain of fire below him, while enemy dive bombers and torpedo planes continued to flash across the skies. Years later, actor Norman Alden would portray Landon in that moment of horror in the movie Tora! Tora! Tora! The movie's version of events may well have captured Major Landon's true thoughts as he headed earthward in an attempt to save his plane and crew. He was awarded the Silver Star Medal for his actions on 7 December 1941 and the citation reads (in part):

"Major Landon, Echelon Commander on a flight from Hamilton Field, California, after an all-night flight and with only a small quantity of gasoline remaining which necessitated an early landing, arrived in the vicinity of Hickam Field during the Japanese attack and was subjected to heavy anti-aircraft fire and was attacked by Japanese aircraft. Major Landon's flight was unarmed and unprepared for an attack and rather than risk damaging the aircraft under his control by landing in an inadequate, although protected field, brought about the safe landing of his flight through his skill, coolness and daring under fire."

https://www.myheritage.com/research/collection-67693/landon-genealo...

General Truman Hempel "Ted" Landon (February 11, 1905 – January 27, 1986) was a U.S. Air Force general and commander, U.S. Air Forces in Europe.

Landon was born in Maryville, Missouri, and grew up in Carlinville, Illinois. After graduation from the Carlinville High School in 1922, he attended Blackburn College in that city and, in 1924, entered the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York.

He graduated from the academy in 1928 and received his pilot and observer ratings at Kelly Field, Texas, February 15, 1930. General Landon was a command pilot with more than 7,800 hours.

Following two years with the 3rd Attack Group at Fort Crockett, Texas, he served as a flying instructor from 1932-1936 at Randolph Field and with the Sixth Bomb Group at France Field in the Panama Canal Zone from 1937 to 1939.

The commander of the 38th Reconnaissance Squadron from 1939 to 1942, General Landon participated in the first mass flight of B-17s from Hamilton Field, California, to Hickam Field, Hawaii, May 13, 1941.

On December 7, 1941 while en route to the Philippine Islands in command of the 38th Squadron, General Landon arrived at Hickam Field, Hawaii, during the Japanese attack. For his actions that day he received the Silver Star. In the film Tora! Tora! Tora!, about the attack on Pearl Harbor, Landon was portrayed by actor Norman Alden.

During World War II he commanded the Seventh Bomber Command in the Central Pacific. While commanding general of the Seventh Bomber Command he also commanded a Joint Task Group under Admiral Nimitz.

With the exception of a tour of duty with the Caribbean Air Command, General Landon post-war assignments were divided between Washington, D.C., and Germany. He served in the NSC 68 study group in 1949. From March 1951 until August 1953 he served as deputy commander-in-chief and chief of staff for USAFE at Wiesbaden, Germany. In June 1956, he assumed command of the Caribbean Air Command, Albrook Air Force Base, Canal Zone, where he remained until August 1959.

His Washington duties were varied. He was the senior air instructor and later commandant of the Army and Navy Staff College. Other assignments included assistant deputy chief of staff for operations, inspector general and deputy chief of staff for personnel, all with Headquarters U.S. Air Force.

He assumed command of the 4th Allied Tactical Air Forces and U.S. Air Forces in Europe on July 1, 1961, succeeding General Frederic H. Smith Jr., who was named vice chief of staff, Headquarters U.S. Air Force. He retired from the Air Force on July 1, 1963, and died on January 27, 1986.[1]

In addition to his Air Force duties, Landon received a Doctor of Laws from Long Island University on January 29, 1960. He was also fluent in German and Spanish, frequently making public speeches in those languages.

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Gen. Truman Hempel Landon's Timeline

1905
February 11, 1905
Maryville, Nodaway County, Missouri, United States
1947
April 7, 1947
Germany
1986
January 27, 1986
Age 80
San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas, United States
January 30, 1986
Age 80
United States Air Force Academy Cemetery, 5136 Eagle Drive, Air Force Academy, El Paso County, CO, 80840, United States