Bruce Randolph Landis, JrPrivate First Class
K CO, 3RD BN, 7TH MARINES, 3RD MARDIV
United States Marine Corps
17 June 1944 - 22 March 1966
Panel 06E Line 039
The database page for Bruce Randolph Landis, Jr
The world knew him as "Bruce." Our family called him "Randy." He was named after our father, Bruce R. Landis. It soon became too confusing with two "Bruces" in the house, so since they shared the middle name "Randolph" (our paternal grandmother's surname), my brother became known as "Randy."
Randy was born June 17, 1944 (prematurely, seven months old) while our father was serving as an Army First Lieutenant in World War II. No one thought Randy would survive. But he did, and he thrived. He grew up in the 1950's with television cowboys and Indians and a Daniel Boone coonskin cap. He was a very quiet, private person with a deep love for the outdoors and all animals. We lived in Washington State and in the 1960's Randy joined first the State, then later the National, Forest Service, working summertimes while in high school and college. His dream was to earn a degree in forestry and to fly helicopters for the U.S. Forest Service. But the Viet Nam War intervened, and with his draft number soon to come up, he enlisted in the U. S. Marines. (He said he could have at least that much decision over his own life.)
He was sent to Viet Nam in 1965 (June, as I remember). He was killed March 23, 1966 near Da Nang. After his death, our father never mentioned his name again until several years before his own death; it was too painful for him. Not only had Randy died, but in our house it was as if he had never lived. What a dreadful burden, particularly for Mother. Finally in 1995, nine years after Mother's death, our father visited the Viet Nam Memorial in Washington, D.C. and could finally talk about him again.
In 2001 I attended a U.S. Marines Kilo (K) Company reunion (http://www.kilo37.com). There I met some men who served with my brother, particularly Robert ("Bob") Pitoniak. Bob, like us, had been affected by my brother's death all these years. He was able to relate what happened to Randy the day he was killed. Bob said they were in a lovely forested area waiting for nightfall to enter a village, and he and Randy talked about how, under different circumstances, it would be a nice place to have a picnic. Dusk fell. As they came out into the rice paddies surrounding the village, all hell broke loose. The Viet Cong were lying in wait for them. Bob said, it was "like the Fourth of July." Randy was in front; Bob could no longer see him. (We heard Randy had been sent out to a "point" position.) Randy was hit and went down. Richard ("Rick") Caruolo went out after Randy, and while bringing him back was also hit and later died from his wounds. (He is also listed on the Viet Nam Memorial - 06E line 041.)
Bob and some of his fellow Marines were able to reach Randy and Rick, and Bob helped carry Randy back behind the lines to the medics. He said Randy was more "John Wayne" than John Wayne ever was. Randy had been hit, first in the leg, and after he went down, in the head. They were carrying him over uneven rice paddy terrain in pitch darkness and kept slipping and falling and dropping him. Randy had stuffed his handkerchief into his mouth to keep from crying out and giving away their position. Every time they stopped they would take out the handkerchief so he could breathe, and he always insisted on putting it back in again once they resumed. When they got to the medic, Randy told the medic that he was tired and to go help the other guys. Bob never saw him again after that, but learned later that he had died.
We went on with our lives. So did Randy's fellow Marines. But the Viet Nam War affected us all. People spat on us. People told my mother that because he fought in Viet Nam, her son deserved to die. Marines came home. There were no parades, no welcome home, no thank you. Even to this day it affects me.
My father is dead now (he died February 14, 2001). He is buried alongside my brother in Willamette National Cemetery in Portland, Oregon. They both served their country well. I am the last in our family of four, and I want to post this memorial not only to my brother but to all those Marines who served with him and who helped to bring him home. Thank you so very much. And thank you for serving in Viet Nam. Welcome home!
Juanita C. Kandi (nee Landis)
Kilo 3/7 Marines
A Note from The Virtual WallThe 3rd Bn, 7th Marines' After Action report for Operation TEXAS contains the following entry:
Six men from 3/7 died in the fight described above:
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 21 Feb 2005
Last updated 08/10/2009