They're an unlikely pair, but Luke Jackson and Lewis "Dale" Whipple seemed destined to meet.
"Everybody is required to do [the project]. It's just how ever much you want to put into it, you put into it."
Which is something the 17-year-old high school student from Vermont took to heart for the National History Day Project.
Through his hard work, Jackson was chosen as one of the 51 winners for the project.
Jackson concentrated his work on the Berlin Airlift during World War II.
He contacted several veterans for research but connected especially well with Whipple, of Shreveport, who was a pilot during that time.
After 18 months of communicating through email and phone, the two met for the first time today.
"In '48, they deployed us to Germany when the Berlin Blockade started. The whole unit," recalls Whipple.
The Berlin Airlift was organized in 1948 by Western allies to carry supplies into West Berlin.
The U.S. Air Force and the British Royal Air flew over 200,000 flights in one year, providing up to 4,700 tons of daily necessities, such as food and fuel, to the Berliners.
"You read some of the stories of the people trying to live through that time and you just had to help," says Whipple.
Jackson says the events of that time during the war really came alive during his correspondence with Whipple.
"I learned quite a bit about him, what he did in the air lift, where he is now, and, like, where he grew up," says Jackson.
A unique bond, neither expected, but both will cherish.
"This project made me realize that we should be talking to more veterans and getting more of their stories together so everything's not forgotten when they're not here anymore."
Dale Whipple is currently battling cancer and wanted to meet Luke before his health deteriorated any further.
As part of his award, Luke is headed to New Orleans for the grand opening of the Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center at the National World War II Museum this weekend.