Going into our first group interview this summer; it was very exciting to finally get started. When we first arrived for the interview I noticed Mr. and Mrs. Landis had laid out various items of memorabilia including Mr. Landis’s flight jacket and a shadow box containing some of his service medals. Wilson A. Landis III was a B-24 bomber pilot who completed approximately 35 combat missions during World War II. He was shot down, had to evacuate his plane in the middle of a foreign country, lost close friends and saved the life of his navigator by carrying him wounded through the forest in Yugoslavia.
What stands out the most to me is the humbleness he displayed when sharing his story even though he was incredibly courageous and faced great dangers during the war. Also, it was evident that Mrs. Landis is very proud of her husband’s service. Mrs. Landis shared a few stories and also showed us a piece of his parachute she received by mail when he was overseas. She told us while all the other ladies were receiving jewelry in the mail she received a piece of cloth. It wasn’t until Mr. Landis came home that she fully understood the significance of the gift and now she cherishes it as the parachute is what saved his life when he bailed out of his plane. I have often wondered what it must have been like living through a war such as this. When asked what advice he would pass on to this generation Mr. Landis stated “We have to be ready to defend our country, we weren’t expecting a war nor did we want to go to war, we were just enjoying our lives, attending college when the war happened”. It must have been surreal to one day be a college student and the next day you are at war. I want to thank Mr. and Mrs. Landis for telling their stories; it was a true pleasure meeting them!