Earning his wings again
By Airman 1st Class Sergio A. Gamboa, 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published March 18, 2015
TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Not many serve in the military for more than 30 years during three wars or piloted 55 different aircraft, but U.S. Air Force Col. (Ret.) Robert "Don" Gregor did just that during his time in the Air Force.
He was also the Tyndall base commander and the vice commander of the Weapons Center at one point in his career
Gregor passed away Feb. 26 and a memorial service was held for him March 1 at the Wilson Funeral Home Chapel in Panama City, Fla. where more than 60 family members and friends attended.
"He was a living, breathing history book whose personal experiences during World War II never ceased to amaze even the most seasoned veterans in our Daedalian flight," said T.J. Cottongim, 337th Air Control Squadron F-15 Eagle simulator instructor. "He was a masterful storyteller. When asked, he would always share a flying story that was not only unique and often harrowing, but usually interspersed with so much humor that he had us all cracking up after the first few words."
Born in Montreal, Canada and raised in Brooklyn, N. Y., Gregor was given his fighter pilot wings as a teenager in the Royal Canadian Air Force and served 32 years of his life in the military, piloting in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. After his war-time he became a test pilot at Tyndall.
During his time serving in the military, Gregor was the recipient of many decorations. Most notably he was awarded the Air Force Distinguished Flying Cross multiple times and was awarded the British DFC, which is presented by the king.
He was also an outstanding member of the community.
Gregor retired in 1973 and after doing so, he was asked to set up the Comprehensive Health System for Northwest Florida.
He was also a member of Order of Daedalians Flight 89, a fraternal and professional order of American military pilots, was a district governor, an active member of the Bay County Chamber of Commerce and was president of the Downtown Rotary Club at one point.
According to his obituary, Gregor lived life to the fullest with honesty, integrity and honor as a husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, serviceman and businessman.
"In 24 years, I don't recall hearing the same story twice," Cottongim said. "Right to the end, he was as sharp as a tack and as fine a gentleman as you would ever meet. I feel a great sense of loss at his passing and will miss him, especially at our future Daedalians gatherings. I feel truly enriched to have known him."