Alumni CLASnotes Spring 2009
In This Issue:

The Gator Nation is Everywhere

We've all heard the mantra, but how true is it?

Landolt in Indonesia
PADANG, Indonesia (October 10, 2009): Commander, Amphibious Force Seventh Fleet, Rear Adm. Richard Landolt teaches the "Gator Chomp" to children outside the Humanitarian Assistance Rapid Response Team (HARRT) medical facility in Padang, Indonesia. Landolt visited the hospital, which provided free medical treatment to Indonesian citizens of west Sumatra following two earthquakes. Amphibious Force Seventh Fleet is directing the U.S. military response from a request by the Indonesian government for assistance and support for humanitarian efforts. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Byron C. Linder) Photo: Byron C. Linder

One UF alumnus found this mantra to be extremely true through several first-hand experiences. He even helped spread Gator spirit across the globe.

Rear Admiral Richard B. Landolt is the Commander of Amphibious Force 7th Fleet in Okinawa, Japan, and earned his B.A. in Political Science from UF in 1981. He has command of nine ships in Japan and refers to five of his amphibious ships as "Gator ships."

Through his job in the navy and his past work with NATO, Landolt has traveled extensively through Europe and Southeast Asia.

"I always bump into the Gator Nation wherever I am overseas," Landolt said.

For example, in Fukuoka, Japan, Landolt worked with Margot and William Carrington, both UF graduates. Margot Carrington is the Principal Officer of the U.S. Consulate in Fukuoka. They reminisced about teachers they both had.

"We refer to our endeavors together in Japan as 'Gator diplomacy' even," Landolt said.

While working overseas, Landolt interacted with some children in an Indonesian hospital. He explained to them the concept of a college mascot and football games. He even taught them the Gator chomp, after noticing his friend, a University of Georgia graduate, about a hundred yards away.

"We marched down to the other end of the hospital and we all demonstrated our Gator spirit to my Georgia friend," he said. "It was great and the kids loved doing it."

Landolt is a big Gator sports fan even through thick and thin.

"The football team went 0-10-1 my senior year," he said. "It was a tough time."

In addition to his commitment to Gator athletics, Landolt is committed to humanitarian assistance too.

Three of Landolt's ships were en route to the Philippines for an exercise when disaster struck. In a span of three days, September 29 to October 1, a typhoon hit Manila, Philippines; three earthquakes hit Sumatra, Indonesia; and a tsunami hit the Samoan Islands. U.S. ships from Hawaii assisted in Samoa, while two of Landolt's ships were sent to the Philippines and one ship was sent to Indonesia (and was later joined by two other ships from the 7th Fleet).

Landolt was assigned as the Mission Commander for all U.S. forces in Indonesia. He was constantly surprised at the willingness of people to help out. One day, as part of the relief effort, he boarded a Marine Corps heavy-lift helicopter to help deliver relief supplies. They found a very small landing spot in the forest.

"After we landed, people came out from the forest and a spontaneous 'conga line' was started to help move material out of the helicopter to a nearby staging area," Landolt said. "Very spontaneous and very orderly."

Although Landolt loves his job and his time spent overseas, there's still nothing like home.

"I've enjoyed every aspect of living overseas but it does make you more appreciative of what we have in the U.S. after you return," he said.

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