100-year-old Okaloosa County veteran gets special day dedicated to him

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SHALIMAR, Fla. (WKRG) — A 100-year-old retired Air Force officer was given his own special day Tuesday by Okaloosa County officials.

Col. James B Randels will be 101-year-old on October 23rd, that is the day that officials have dubbed James B Randels Day.

Randels flew in over 300 combat missions in World War 2, The Korean War and Vietnam. He says he was proud to have served his country.

“When you’re in an airplane you’re in command,” Randels said. “When I was in Korea I spent six weeks in the army, and you’re not neccesarily in command.”

Randels says during his time serving in the Air Force, he had three belly landings, which is when a plane has to land on its belly without landing gear. He recalls one time having to crash land in Vietnam.

“Lesson learned there,” Randels said. “If you have to crash land go into a banana patch because I did not get a scratch.”

Randels son Joseph says his father retired from Eglin Air Force Base in 1972. He says he can remember his father going on several tours throughout Vietnam.

“Dads gone, and my sisters are there at the house and he’s off fighting a war,” Randels said.

Randels went into real estate after retiring from the Air Force. He now lives in Fort Walton Beach.

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