In 1966, John Ryan Landry deployed to Vietnam with the 11th Armored Cavalry Blackhorse Regiment. He was awarded the Bronze and Silver Stars. The Silver Star is the third-highest U.S. combat-only award. The Bronze Star is awarded for meritorious service and combat actions.
Landry, 76, a major general, died June 13 at Fairfax Hospital in Virginia of cancer.
Born and raised in Miami, Landry attended Miami Senior High and the University of Miami. Landry played cornerback for the Miami High football team. Roland Gomez, a friend of Landry’s since seventh grade and Miami High teammate, said Landry was a “tenacious” player.
“He was 135 pounds and playing highly competitive high school football,” Gomez said. “He was a tough little guy.”
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In 1958, Landry was appointed to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He graduated in 1962. A year before graduating, he met his wife, Margaret Hans, at a fraternity party at Columbia University in New York.
“He was the man that always had a smile on his face,” Hans said. “He never met a stranger.”
Landry’s military service began in Bindlach, Germany, where he commanded A Troop of the Second Armored Cavalry Regiment.
While serving in Vietnam in 1966, Landry was also awarded the Presidential and the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citations while commanding B Troop.
Landry attended the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University before teaching at West Point in the Social Sciences department.
Landry also served two tours in Amberg, Germany, from 1974 to 1979, with the Third Squadron/Second Armored Cavalry Regiment. He first served as the squadron executive officer and later as the squadron commander.
Landry also served as a speech writer for the Supreme Allied Commanders Europe (SACEUR) at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) near Belgium during this time.
He was assigned in 1989 as chief of staff of VII Corps in Germany, which he held during Operation Desert Storm. He also served as the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Guard/Reserve affairs before retiring from the Army in 1993 after a 32-year military career.
He was later named as a national intelligence officer and worked as an adviser to the director of national intelligence.
Landry’s other passion was his family.
“His son actually served in Operation Iraqi Freedom in Kuwait,” said Gomez. “I remember how proud he was of his son. He had a fantastic relationship with his children and his grandchildren.”
Landry is survived by his wife, son Sean and daughter-in-law Sumataya, son Scott and daughter-in-law Jacki, and hisgrandchildren Sara, Kylie and Samantha. He is also survived by his sister Diane Gill, his brother Louis Landry and his sister Maria Wellisch.
Visitation will be from 3 to 8 p.m. Sunday at Fairfax Memorial Funeral Home, in Fairfax, Virginia. The burial will be held at the Church of the Nativity, 6400 Nativity Lane, Burke, Virginia, at 10 a.m. Monday.