Biography - Robert Lando


Born September 18, 1920 in San Diego to a career naval officer and graduate of Annapolis, Robert Lando was raised within the naval culture, as his father was stationed at various naval installations within the U.S., from the Bremerton, Washington Naval Yard to San Pedro (near Los Angeles) California to Coronado Island (San Diego) and in the Bay Area at Mare Island Naval Shipyard near Vallejo. During all that time, Robert Lando soaked up a great deal of Navy lore and tradition from his father. As a member of the Sea Scouts in high school in San Diego, Robert Lando was first mate of Sea Scout ship 575 (a class M2 patrol boat), which assisted the U.S. Navy in patrolling the waters near San Diego.

Robert Lando was attending San Diego State U, when war in the Pacific broke out. He naturally gravitated toward service in the U.S. Navy, and volunteered April 7, 1942. He served as a Navy briefing officer and landing craft instructor in World War II, (1942 to 1946), first at the Amphibious Training Base in Ocracoke, North Carolina, then in the Pacific theater. After receiving 3 months of training at Notre Dame U. in South Bend, Indiana, Robert Lando was accepted into the now-legendary Beach Jumpers unit, formed in WWII under the guidance of Lieutenant Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. Beach Jumpers were U.S. Navy special warfare units, specializing in deception and psychological warfare. Beach Jumper volunteers were recruited for "prolonged, hazardous, distant duty for a secret project." Their identities and activities were very highly classified, since the slightest leak of information could ruin even brilliant deceptions. Robert Lando was sent with his Beach Jumper Unit 4 to the Philippines in November of 1944, and participated in a highly successful deception operation in the Isthmus of Luzon, which resulted in the diversion and cutting off of 50,000 enemy troops. This action made possible the subsequent unopposed American invasion and liberation of the Philippines via Lingayen Gulf north of Manila. Robert Lando and his unit were commended for their, bravery and resourcefulness by the commanding naval officer in the Philippines, A. Vernon Jannotta. Many of his fellow Beach Jumpers went to their graves without ever revealing, even to their wives and children, what they had done in the Navy.

Following the end of WWII Robert Lando remained active in the Naval Reserve, and received further training at advanced flight school in Miami in photo interpretation and surveillance from aircraft. Robert Lando met his wife-to-be, Phyllis, at the Amphibious Training Base in North Carolina. Phyllis was also a naval officer in WWII (Lt. Jr. Grade), and according to Robert Lando, as he was just an Ensign at the time, she outranked him (he later achieved the rank of full Commander). They were married for 49 years. Robert Lando had always admired his wife’s musical abilities (being a concert cellist) and her tireless desire to bring the musical arts to everyone.

From 1949 to 1982 Robert Lando taught the second through eighth grades in the San Francisco Unified School District, teaching every subject on the curriculum, including music, physical education, English, and math. As a teacher in the San Francisco school system for 32 years, Robert Lando often coached his students to give speeches and short dramatic presentations. Robert Lando was the local coordinator for the American Legion's High School Oratorical Contest, held annually. Robert Lando also coached and mentored local area youth for participation in Boys State (sponsored by the American Legion), an annual summer program for high school juniors in the operations of state and local government. Robert Lando also participated in Toastmasters with his already wellhoned presentational skills. He had also competed successfully in several speech contests, winning the Area D-2 and Division D Humorous Contests.

Robert Lando for many years continued to participate in military recognition

ceremonies in full dress uniform. Robert Lando also played an active role in giving guidance and support to ROTC cadets. He was active in the American Legion, having served as Commander of Post 40, Vice-Commander of the 8th District, and also Adjutant for Post 40.

After living a long and busy life, Robert Lando passed away in 2013 at the age of 92. He will long be remembered by all of his friends for his heroics and intriguing stories during his military career and his life devoted to helping everyone around him.




Cdr. Robert E. Lando







"Fair winds and following seas"



Memorial Day Ceremony, May 28, 2012
San Francisco National Cemetery