"The pilots are Batman. And I'm Alfred, waiting," Landes said. "I wanted to be Batman."
The rules have changed since she enlisted. So on Wednesday, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, Landes became the first woman to re-enlist as a 19D cavalry scout.
Currently assigned to 4th Squadron, 6th Cavalry Heavy Attack Reconnaissance Squadron, 16th Combat Aviation Brigade, 7th Infantry Division, Landes will attend Advanced Individual Training in October. She expects to be reassigned to Fort Hood, Texas.
Landes, 27, knew she wanted to join the fight long before her first enlistment. She grew up in southern Illinois (when asked what town, she initially replied "cornfield," later clarifying "between Kinmundy and Alma"). At age 7, Landes saw one brother join the Army. Another signed up when she was 14.
"Ever since I was a little girl and my brothers first enlisted, I've wanted to be G.I. Joe," she said. "When I enlisted originally I didn't have the option of doing whatever I wanted. They said pick any job, just not a combat MOS."
The Army remains a family affair for her as her husband serves as a combat engineer. And she's got children of her own; in fact she had a daughter 11 weeks ago to go along with three children — ages six, seven and eight.
In January, the Defense Department opened all combat jobs to women. According to 16th CAB spokesman Capt. Brian Harris, Landes is the first to re-enlist to 19D cavalry scout.
"I'm just doing the job I'm trying to do," she told Army Times. "I know some people recognize it as trailblazing, but it's the same job that people have been doing for a long time."
As for the broader rancor from some over females taking combat jobs? She said she's "listened to a lot of that crap" in passing. She said she's been at least somewhat prepped by jokes from her husband's friends.
She knows life will be different She's seen the night-and-day difference between her work life in a support role and her husband's as a combat engineer, and she admits apprehension that comes with any such career change.
But Landes, who has deployed to Afghanistan, figures most objection stems from belief that she won't measure up physically, which she brushes aside.
"The male PT test isn't that hard to pass in the first place," she said. "That's the most irritating thing: people think physically I will not be able to do it, and I know I can."