US Air Force veteran turns 100

It's a milestone birthday this year for Colonel William James "Greg" Gregory, United States Air Force, Retired who lives here in Central Texas. His family has asked the public to help him celebrate turning 100 today.

Daughters Gretchen Davis and Cookie Ruiz say that up until the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Gregory, who lives independently at Westminster in Austin, was working out every day, playing bridge, and seeing all of his friends.

While he remains vital and healthy, David and Ruiz say the coronavirus has "made his life much smaller" and that the months of isolation have been extremely tough on their dad. So Davis and Ruiz say they wanted to surprise him with lots of cards and short video messages so he can have the 100th birthday celebration he deserves.

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The family asked the public to send wishes and cards by August 2 and then on Gregory's birthday, they asked people to drive-by the senior living community Gregory lives at to wish him a happy birthday.

Gregory was born in 1920 in Smith County, Tennessee, and lived in the state until the age of 21. During his junior year at Middle Tennessee State University, as part of the inaugural aviation program there, he took the first flight of his extraordinary flying career.

Gregory has been awarded four Legions of Merit throughout his career for his exceptional service to the Air Force. The Legion of Merit is a military award of the United States Armed Forces that is given for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements. It is the second-highest peacetime military award.

Since his retirement, Gregory remains active in a number of military organizations. He continued to travel the world by cycling, a sport he started at the age of 72, across a different country every two years until the age of 92. In the year 2000 at the age of 80, Col. Gregory became a licensed glider pilot.