TAN SON NHUT --- A1C Edward Landau has faced some real knotty ...
... problems during his lifetime.
During his first career as a small businessman in civilian life, he encountered some of the
normal small problems associated with business ... but, they were his problems.
Today in the Air Force, Airman Landau is, confronted with tons of problems --
someone else's problems.
Airman Landau tries to untangle nearly two tons of lost baggage each month. He
heads the lost and found section of the 8th Aerial Port Squadron, at Tan Son Nhut AB.
"Lost baggage is only a small percentage of the tons of baggage handled for American
servicemen arriving and leaving Vietnam," said Airman Landau. "Most of the baggage
lost is due to illegible writing, loss of address tags and change in assignments. It
is a big challenge to find the owners quickly and cut down the inconvenience to these
individuals to a minimum."
But, challenges are common place for Airman Landau. He is a unique man who,
during his 60 years, has led a full life. He retired from operating a successful
wholesale radio delivery service in his hometown of San Francisco, to re-enter the service.
This is his third war. Airman Landau volunteered for Vietnam which required
approval of a waiver because of his age. He arrived in October of last year and will
serve 18 months, having extended recently for another six months.
"I see baggage in my sleep," states Airman Landau. "An average of 400 pieces of
lost luggage are handled monthly. Our recovery rate is about 75 per cent.
"Addresses on letters and copies of orders found in luggage aid in finding the owners of
lost baggage," says Airman Landau. "We write letters to relatives and formet units
... usually we find the owners pretty fast."
Unknown baggage -- luggage with no identification whatsoever -- is more
difficult to trace. "Spot announcement over local radio stations is one way used to
find owners," Airman Landau said.
Every effort is made to find the owner.
"We know this baggage is irreplaceable by
the owner for sentimental reasons," said Airman Landau. "When walking around the
base or in Saigon, I find myself looking at name tags worn by military personnel, hoping to
recognize a name on our lost baggage inventory list."
A grandfather (three grand-daughters in Novato, Calif.) Airman Landau feels he
is playing a vital role in vietnam.
He was lauded recently by Colonel Robert J. Sunde, director of traffic in the office of the
deptuy chief of staff for operations, Headquarters 22nd Air Force, Travis AFB, Calif.
The colonel said, "Airman Landau seems to worry about people's baggage more that I do.
And ... I am a worrying son-of-a-gun."
It is a challenging task ... Airman Landau and the 8th Aerial Port Squadron's "can
do" attitudes has proven successful in doing the job.