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Army ROTC, alumni remember fallen soldier

September 28, 2010
By: Joey Marburger
Features Editor
Publication Date: 02/16/2007

Kevin and Bethany Landeck

Master Sgt. Joseph Blando started the final roll call. “Here master sergeant,” each soldier answered after his or her name was called. Each soldier except one.

“Capt. Landeck,” said Blando.

Silence.

“Capt. Kevin Landeck.” Silence. “Capt. Kevin C. Landeck.” Silence.

Blando, senior military instructor of the Reserve Office Training Corp, concluded. “Taps” echoed across the expanse of the Armory during the service honoring Capt. Kevin Landeck on Thursday.

Landeck, a Purdue alumnus and former member of Army ROTC, was killed when the Humvee he was traveling in was struck by a roadside bomb Feb. 2 near Baghdad. He was assigned to the 10th Mountain Division, based in Fort Drum, N.Y.

Lt. Col. Dan Carpenter, professor of military science, slowly approached the podium. He looked at the memorial for Landeck, an upturned M4 Carbine with Landeck’s dog tags dangling from it and a helmet on top. The Purple Heart and Bronze star were placed on either side with the Combat Infantryman Badge positioned between the boots in front.

“We have lost a comrade,” said Carpenter, the head of the Army ROTC program at Purdue. “In times like this we feel helpless. But we can do what we can. We can honor our comrade.”

Landeck’s wife, 2nd Lt. Bethany Landeck, sat in the front row.

“Bethany shared with me that Landeck’s memories from Purdue and (ROTC) are of his fondest,” said Carpenter. “This was his first band of brothers. He even met his wife here.”

Lt. Leslie Good, a Purdue alumna who graduated with Landeck in 2004, read a letter from their friend Lt. Michael Taylor. Taylor graduated with them as well.

“He was born a leader,” wrote Taylor, who was unable to attend the service.

Taylor wrote about the memories he had at Purdue with Landeck.

“We joked around,” he wrote. “But we were always serious about our training.”

Lt. Good sobbed as she struggled through the letter.

Bethany, a Purdue alumna, approached her husband’s memorial to pay her final respects. She paused, then walked across the floor where Landeck and she had gone through drill.

She saluted his memorial, then turned about-face. Her friends and fellow soldiers embraced her as all troops in attendance paid their final respects.

One at a time, they saluted their fellow comrade. Some knew Landeck well, some had never met him. But he still received the honor of a soldier, a companion.