Ted Landskroener has worn many hats in 96 years: husband, father, company president, bank board member, and volunteer fire company advocate. Yet for Ted, the first great challenge of his life was the one he shares with millions of veterans who joined the Greatest Generation to vanquish Hitler and Hirohito in World War II.
Born in Saginaw, Mi. on October 31, 1923, Ted was a child of the Great Depression. His parents moved the family east where the Landskroeners settled in first in Bethlehem, Pa. and then in central New Jersey, where Ted grew up.
Ted was one of many Navy aviators who trained for the Allied invasion of the Japanese mainland, where millions on both sides would have face certain death had the U.S. decided against the use of atomic weapons. In this interview, Ted recalls the magazine cover of the sharp dressed Navy flier that caught his eye. He decided then if he had to risk his life, it might as well be as a Navy pilot. Ted shares his memories of finding his way into the air unit, learning to fly and land on make-shift aircraft carriers–and the constant unmentioned fear of the future in time of war.
Ted also shares his memories of hearing that President Truman had dropped the second atomic bomb on the City of Nagasaki and the loss of lives that saved his own.
By Daniel Menefee and Steve Meehan
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