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Robert B. Landry Oral History Interview, March 1-2, 1983

Oral History Interview with
Robert B. Landry

U.S. Army officer, 1932-63; Air Aide to President Truman, 1948-53.

Scottsdale, Arizona
March 1-2, 1983
by Hugh A. Ahmann, United States Air Force Oral History Program

See also: Robert B. Landry Oral History, by James R. Fuchs of the Harry S. Truman Library.

[Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | Table of Contents]

 


Notice
This is a transcript of a tape-recorded interview conducted by The United States Air Force Oral History Program . The reader should remember that this is essentially a transcript of the spoken, rather than the written word.

Numbers appearing in square brackets (ex. [45]) within the transcript indicate the pagination in the original, hardcopy version of the oral history interview.

RESTRICTIONS
This oral history transcript may be read, quoted from, cited, and reproduced for purposes of research. It may not be published in full except by permission of the Harry S. Truman Library.

Opened February 1990
Harry S. Truman Library
Independence, Missouri

 

[Top of the Page | Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | Table of Contents]

 



Oral History Interview with
Robert B. Landry

Scottsdale, Arizona
March 1-2, 1983
by Hugh A. Ahmann, United States Air Force Oral History Program


[iii]

FOREWORD

One of the oldest and oft-used sources for reconstructing the past is the personal recollections of the individuals who were involved. While of great value, memoirs and oral interviews are primary source documents rather than finished history. The following pages are the personal remembrances of the interviewee and not the official opinion of the United States Air Force Historical Program or of the Department of the Air Force. The Air Force has not verified the statements contained herein and does not assume any responsibility for their accuracy.

These pages are a transcript of an oral interview recorded on magnetic tape. Editorial notes and additions made by United States Air Force historians have been enclosed in brackets. When feasible, first names, ranks, or titles have been provided. Only minor changes for the sake of clarity were made before the transcript was returned to the interviewee for final editing and approval. Readers must therefore remember that this is a transcript of the spoken, rather than the written, word.

[v]

KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS:

That I, Maj. Gen Robert B. Landry, have on (date) 1-2 March, 1983, participated in an oral magnetic taped interview with Hugh N. Ahmann, USAF Historical Research Center, covering my best recollections of events and experiences which may be of historical significance to the United States Air Force.

I understand that the tape(s) and the transcribed manuscript resulting there from will be accessioned into the United States Air Force Historical Research Center to be used as the security classification permits. It is further understood and agreed that any copy or copies of this oral history interview given to me by the United States Air Force and in my possession or that of my executors, administrators, heirs, and assigns, may be used in any manner and for any purpose by me or them, subject to security classification restrictions.

Subject to the license to use reserved above, I do hereby voluntarily give, transfer, convey, and assign all right, title, and interest in the memoirs and remembrances contained in the aforementioned magnetic tapes and manuscript to the Office of Air Force History, acting on behalf of the United States of America, to have and to hold the same forever, hereby relinquishing for myself, my executors, administrators, heirs, and assigns all ownership, right, title, and interest therein to the donee expressly on the condition of strict observance of the following restrictions:

DONOR: Robert B. Landry, Maj. General, USAF (Retired)

DATED: Feb 3, 1990
Accepted on behalf of the Office of Air Force History by: Elliott V. Converse, III, Col. USAF

DATED: Feb 13, 1990

[vii]

BIOGRAPHY

OF

MAJOR GENERAL ROBERT B. LANDRY

Major General Robert B. Landry was born on 1 December 1909 in New Orleans, Louisiana. He attended Tulane University for a year and then entered the U.S. Military Academy from which he was graduated in June 1932, and appointed a second lieutenant of Infantry. After serving at infantry installations in the United States for 2 years, he began flying training and in March 1935, was graduated with the rating of pilot and transferred to the Air Corps.

General Landry's first Air Corps assignment was as flying instructor at Kelly Field, Texas, followed by a 2 year tour of duty in the Panama Canal Zone. He then became a squadron Commander of the 493d Bomb Group; and Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations of the Air Staff of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Forces.

General Landry, in January 1946, was appointed a member of the Joint Operations Review Board of the Army Navy Staff College. The following July he entered the National War College, from which he was graduated in July 1947. A month later he was named executive to the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force. In February 1948, General Landry was appointed Air Aide to President Truman.

He was designated deputy commander of the Second Air Force at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, in January 1953. On 7 February 1955, he became Commander of the Fourth Air Force, Continental Air Command, Hamilton AFB, California. In July 1957, he transferred as Assistant to the Deputy Chief of Staff, Personnel, Headquarters, U.S. Air Force. In June 1960 he was assigned to McClellan AFB, California. He retired in June 1962.

[ix]

TABLE OF CONTENTS

PEARL HARBOR
AIR FORCE TOOK OVER THE AC&W CONTROL CENTER
ARMY WAS JEALOUS OF THEIR AUTHORITY
STUDY OF THE CAPABILITY OF THE HAWAIIAN AF TO FIGHT
RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE DEFENSE OF HAWAII
NO WAR PLAN FOR HAWAII
ROOSEVELT DID NOT KNOW THE JAPS WERE GOING TO ATTACK PEARL HARBOR
BATTLE OF MIDWAY
FAMILY HISTORY
WEST POINT
FIRST ASSIGNMENT WAS AT CAMP STEPHEN D. LITTLE
INTEREST IN FLYING
APPLIED FOR PILOT TRAINING AT RANDOLPH AFB
ARMY PREJUDICE AGAINST THE AF
LIFE IN THE ARMY AT FORT HUACHUCA
BEGAN FLYING TRAINING IN 1935
FLYING INSTRUCTION AT RANDOLPH AFB
WASHOUT RATE
WENT INTO PURSUIT FLYING
TRANSFERRED TO PANAMA CANAL ZONE
DEFENSE PLANS OF PANAMA CANAL ZONE
NAVY EXERCISE IN PANAMA CANAL ZONE
HE WENT FROM POLLIWOG TO SHELLBACK
ASSIGNED TO BARKSDALE AFB, 20TH PURSUIT GROUP
DEPRESSION YEARS IN THE MILITARY
BALLOONISTS WENT TO HEAVIER THAN AIR
 
 
[x]
 
 
 
WAS AIDE TO GEN FRED MARTIN
GHQ HEADQUARTERS AND OFFICE OF AIR CORPS CONFLICT
ARMY EXERCISES AT FORT POLK, LA
SET UP AN EXERCISE FOR RESERVISTS
INACTIVE RESERVISTS FLEW OUT OF BARKSDALE AFB
GEN FRED MARTIN
AEROBATIC SHOW AT MARCH AFB
OBTAINED A B-18 FOR THE COMMAND AIRPLANE
COL HARRY OCKER DEVELOPED INSTRUMENT FLYING
IFR
LINK TRAINER
OLDTIMERS IN THE AIR CORPS
AIR CORPS TACTICAL SCHOOL
BETTER PART OF AIR CORPS BUDGET WENT TO THE B-17
GEN HOWARD DAVIDSON BROUGHT THE B-15 TO BARKSDALE AFB
WENT TO HAWAII AS GENERAL MARTIN'S AIDE AND OPERATIONS
HE HAD NO THOUGHTS OF WAR IN 1939
GEN H. H. ARNOLD
MURRAY GREEN ASSISTED HIM ON THE STUDY OF THE SALEM WITCH HUNTS
HAWAIIAN AF INVENTORY WHEN JAPS ATTACKED
RELATIONS WITH THE ARMY AND NAVY
PERSONNEL STATIONED IN HAWAII
BALLINGER REPORT
AIR CORPS HAD IDENTIFIED ITS MISSION IN HAWAII
FIRST RADAR IN HAWAII
ARMY REFUSED TO DISPERSE THE AIRCRAFT
INDICATIONS OF TROUBLE IN LATE 1940
B-I7 VERSUS B-24
ESTABLISHMENT OF HAWAIIAN AF
HE KNEW THERE WAS THE POSSIBILITY OF WAR IN THE PACIFIC