By Spc. Chris McCann
2nd BCT, 10th Mtn. Div. (LI) Public Affairs
MAHMUDIYAH, Iraq — “He was known for his competence, his intensity …and his hair.”
With that single remark, Battalion Chaplain (Capt.) Richard West, native of San Diego, Calif., seemed to sum up Capt. Kevin Landeck, who served with the 2nd Battalion, 15th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), and was killed Feb. 2 by an improvised explosive device near Mahmudiyah, Iraq.
Landeck was remembered as a platoon leader with a sense of humor matched only by his skills as an infantryman.
“He was one of the best officers I’ve worked for in 15 years,” said Staff Sgt. Barry Belles, a native of Wilkes-Barre, Penn., and a platoon sergeant in Company B, 2-15. “Soldiers loved him. He always knew what to say to make people smile. I can’t say enough good about him. It’s a terrible loss for the platoon. The Army lost a great leader.”
1st Lt. Bobby Temple, a native of Atlanta, Ga., arrived at 2-15 the same day as Landeck.
“He made other people laugh,” Temple said. “He was the funniest guy I ever met.”
Temple recalled Landeck’s hijinks – snatching nametapes off other Soldiers’ body armor if it was left unattended, hitting golf balls off the roof of the patrol base. But when it came to getting the mission done, he said, Landeck was a leader to be relied on.
“He loved his platoons – (the Co. B military transition team platoon) and Co. D’s 1st platoon. He tried to do everything he could for them. … He tried to make things better for his guys on the ground.”
Capt. Andrew Visser, commander of Co. B and native of Uckange, France, spoke at the memorial ceremony.
“He took on the MiTT mission with great enthusiasm,” he said. “In all circumstances, I could rely on him to deal with the Soldiers, no matter what the chaos. And he was rarely without a smile on his face. His loss leaves us all much poorer. He was a joy to be around, and he will be sorely missed.”
1st Lt. Michael Ruckdaschel, a native of Amherst, N.Y., and a close friend of Landeck’s, also spoke at the ceremony.
“My first memory of him was when he took the rank off my beret and let me go on my merry way,” Ruckdaschel said, before becoming more serious.
“He put his men first. They loved his leadership and his intensity. He had many friends, and in a short time, he impacted many lives.”
Landeck’s blond hair was famously spiky and mussed, but “he was quick to point out that it was within the three-inch standard,” said West. The haircut – within Army regulations, but completely individual – may be a picture of the man himself.
“He was the funniest guy I’ve ever known,” said Pfc. John Warren, a gunner with the MiTT platoon and native of Oradell, N.J. “He was an awesome leader, one of the best I’ve ever known. There’s no other person I’d want to work with. Nobody.”
Landeck is survived by his wife, Bethany, and his parents, Richard and Vicki Landeck of Wheaton, Ill.
His awards and decorations include a Bronze Star Medal, a Purple Heart Medal, a National Defense Service Medal, an Iraqi Campaign Medal, a Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, an Army Service Ribbon, an Overseas Service Ribbon, a Parachutist badge, Combat Infantryman’s Badge, and Expert Infantryman’s Badge.