SHREVEPORT, La -- Just about this time 31 years ago, Landius Alexander was headed for the first of two wars he would be deployed to against Iraq.
"I was working 12 hour shifts. I was there for six months, working every day fixing airplanes, because they were going in and going out all the time," Landius remembers from the first war with Iraq. Operation Desert Storm kicked off in January of 1991. Landius was an engine mechanic for AC-130 gunships for special operations.
"And once the war was over, they allowed us to go down to Kuwait to see how it was and it was destroyed," Landius remembers.
A little more than a decade later, Landius was back in a war against Iraq in Operation Iraqi Freedom. This time he was as a master sergeant over C-130 transports.
“I was the chief of maintenance so I had to make sure that all the airplanes were flying every day, all day. And if they wasn't flying, you had to brief the general why they wouldn't fly, and what you're gonna do.
“We transferred the beans, the bullets, the tanks to various bases," Landius continued. "But we also were the ones transporting the casualties back to the staging area in Kuwait. And from Kuwait they came back to the states.”
In between those wars was a time of struggle for Landius.
"Because I couldn't earn my sixth stripe. And everybody makes their sixth stripe. And I was just mad," he remembers.
”And God just literally spoke to me in August of '97 to say, 'I can help you turn your life around. If you just trust me.' That's what he told me,” Landius says.
He retired after 24 years as a senior master sergeant. His time in the Air Force afforded him a chance to go to school and become an ordained minister. Back in Shreveport, he did some assistant pastoring, and outreach to people, like the homeless.
And finally, he had enough money.
From one of the pews of a sanctuary, he said, “To be able to buy this building, that was just --nobody but God did that."
So that became the name of his own non-denominational church on Midway Avenue – God Did it Ministries.
“My whole purpose is to try to be a blessing to others and tell others what God did for me. He'll do for you. If you become obedient and do what you're supposed to do, God will open doors for you. He will bless you like he blessed me,” Pastor Landius Alexander said.
He says it was an honor to serve his country in the Air Force. And he says what he liked best was working with others from all across the country. No one saw color.
"Everyone did their job, and we had a good time hanging out afterwards," he says.