Reed Landis was born on July 17, 1896, in Ottawa, Illinois. He enlisted in the 1st Illinois Cavalry, Illinois Army National Guard, on June 19, 1916, and mobilized for service at the Mexican border on the same day. Landis served at Brownsville, Texas, from July to October 1916, and left active duty on November 17, 1916. He was discharged from the Illinois National Guard in May 1917 to attend Officer's Training School and he transferred to the Aviation Section of the Army Signal Corps in June 1917. Landis arrived in England in August 1917 and completed flight training with the British Royal Air Force. During World War I, Maj Landis was credited with the destruction of 12 enemy aircraft in aerial combat while flying with the British 40 Squadron. He was reassigned to the 25th Aero Squadron of the 4th Pursuit Group in September 1918. Maj Landis was discharged from the Army Air Service in March 1919 and went into the civilian aviation sector. He served as Chairman of the American Legion and established the Reed G. Landis Company between the world wars. Landis was recalled to active duty with the U.S. Army Air Forces in 1942. He served as commander of serveral Troop Carrier Wings during World War II, where he served in the mainland United States. Col Landis remained in the service after the war, and commanded the 437th Troop Carrier Wing of the Air Force Reserve from June 1952 to September 1954. Reed Landis died on May 30, 1975.
His Distinguished Service Cross Citation reads:
The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Reed Gresham Landis, Captain (Air Service), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action west of Douai and south of Vitry, August 8, 1918; west of Brieve, August 12, 1918; and over Lens, August 13, 1918. During a general engagement west of Douai and south of Vitry on August 8, 1918, Captain Landis attacked and destroyed two enemy planes and one balloon in the course of a single flight. During a general engagement west of Brieve on August 12, 1918, he singled out an enemy plane and shot it down. While on patrol over Lens on August 13, 1918, he engaged four enemy triplanes and one biplane in decisive combat, and, despite the numerical superiority of the enemy, he destroyed two of their planes and forced the others to withdraw. On August 19, 1918, while leading a patrol of five planes he encountered and unhesitatingly attacked eight enemy Fokker scouts, one of which he shot down. During the combat several other enemy planes joined the action from above and observing one of these attacking a member of his patrol, he climbed up under it, and firing at point-blank range shot it down.