When Gary Gregg was asked by a friend in Cambodia to find the owner of an American airman’s helmet found during the Vietnam War, Gregg said he would be happy to do so.
The helmet had the name “Maj. Randall” on the front and “Jim” written on the side. Gregg placed an appeal in the Vietnam Veterans of America magazine requesting the pilot’s information.
"He was an American Air Force pilot shot down in North Vietnam," said Gregg.
Five days after publication in May 2013, Gregg was in Colorado Springs, CO for a fishing trip when he got the email from the avionics officer of the squadron who said Major Jim Randall, 86, was an original Tuskegee airman and just so happens to live near Colorado Springs.
"To find out he's a Tuskegee airman, that's icing on the cake," said Gregg.
The two met during Gregg’s Colorado vacation, but the helmet was still in Cambodia. Gregg contacted his friend and the helmet arrived in the mail July 2. But instead of mailing the helmet to Randall, Gregg will be presenting the helmet to Randall in person on Aug. 1 in St. Louis at the Tuskegee Airmen Convention.
Since their original visit in May, the two have spoken to each other over the phone and have become good friends. Gregg is a former Marine and goes to Southeast Asia often on humanitarian visits.