No fear. That’s the quality I remember most of my father Mike Landa Sr. He was member of the “Greatest Generation.” My father served as a staff sergeant in the US Army Air Corps during World War Two. He was in charge of ground crews that refueled warplanes in North Africa and the China-Burma-India theatre.

Special Section:’s Father’s Day Guide

How he got there is an interesting story. It began in 1940 when my father and his best friend decided to join the US Navy. As a skinny kid from Alhambra High School Dad knew it would be difficult to meet the military weight requirement. Despite eating a bunch of bananas before going to the recruiting station my Dad was rejected, but his friend Reyner Aquirre of San Gabriel was accepted. Tragically Aquirre was assigned as a sailor on the USS Arizona. He died on December 7th, 1941 during the Japanese attack on Oahu. His name is engraved on the wall at the Pearl Harbor Memorial. In a personal tribute to his pal my father gave me Reyner as a middle name.

 Fathers Day Reflections: Mike Landa of KNXLater in 1941, Mike Landa Sr. was able to join the US Army. At one point during his deployment to India he volunteered for a mission over the Hump to Burma. During the bumpy ride in a C-47 transport plane flying over the Himalaya Mountains he described it as a near death experience. After landing in Burma my father and the men he had convinced to join him as volunteers found themselves at an airstrip with the Japanese exchanging gunfire with General Stillwell’s army.

In 1945 he came home from the war as a strong yet gentle man. This man with movie star good looks worked for many years in a non glamorous profession as a union electrician at a Vernon meat packing house. Today people still have fond memories of his charm, and sense of humor. He was old school when it came to pain. He denied it existed. When he was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 1994 he had peace with God and No Fear.

Comments (3)
  1. Pearl says:

    Beautiful story, no doubt he was a strong man. I would have loved to have my daughter have a father as strong and as brave. Wonderful tribute to his dear friend by giving you a piece of him in a name 🙂

  2. CJRL says:

    What a moving story, you write so beautifully. My father and uncles were also members of the Greatest Generation. They were Army men.

    Mike, I found these photos after watching a tv program I love:

    Yours? Please reply. I’d like your permission to show them to the show producer and the race track.

    Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Watch & Listen LIVE