Colonel, now Brigadier General, Charles McGee is one of the last living Tuskegee Airmen. At 100 years old, he is a living legend of aviation and a national hero.
Charles McGee was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1919. When World War II kicked off, the United States realized that it would take the entire nation to push back Hitler and Imperial Japan. At the time, our nation’s military was segregated. After intense pressure, the US Army decided to train a small group of black men as aviators. McGee was one of the African American aviators trained by the US Army during World War II. He joined the 302nd Fighter Squadron in Italy in 1944. McGee flew the P-39Q Airacobra, P-47D Thunderbolt, and the P-51 Mustang.
McGee’s bravery shown through during the war. He flew 137 combat missions and scored an aerial victory against a Luftwaffe Fw-190. After the war, he continued to serve in the US Air Force. He served in the Korean War and Vietnam, eventually flying the F-4 Phantom. McGee retired as a Colonel in 1973 after amassing 409 combat sorties. Throughout his career, he earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, Legion of Merit, and the Bronze Star.
McGee’s Best Week Ever Begins
At the youthful age of 100, McGee commenced a week of festivities that celebrated his century of service, his dedication to our nation and his humble and honorable impact on busting racial difficulties in our nation. He joyfully held a travel schedule that many people 50 years younger would have found challenging. In one week, he traveled to Miami, Florida for the Super Bowl, then he flew to DC for a flurry of activities.
1.) Colonel McGee Leads The Coin Toss at Super Bowl 54
On Feb 2, 2020, Charles McGee was honored in Miami as he was one of 4 World War II veterans who were all 100 years old. His age coincided with the NFL celebrating their hundredth season.
2.) President Trump Promotes McGee To Brigadier General
On Tuesday, Feb 4, 2020, President Trump officially promoted Col Charles McGee to the rank of Brigadier General. He was the first living centurion to receive a promotion to a one-star general. The ceremony was held in the Oval Office at the White House. It was officiated by President Trump.
3.) General McGee Honored At State Of The Union
In front of a national audience, now General McGee was honored with a standing ovation at the President’s State of the Union address. President Trump began with the story of McGee’s 13 year old great grandson who has dreams of attending the US Air Force Academy and then joining the newly-formed Space Force. He then stated that the young man wanted to follow in the foot steps of his great grandfather, none other than Brigadier General Charles McGee.
It was a touching moment of unity for our nation as one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen received a standing ovation with thunderous applause in the house chamber.
4.) NASA Honors General McGee
The next day, NASA hosted Gen McGee as they thanked him for his service and invited him to a Black History Month event. There he shared his wisdom from his time in service during a question and answer session. McGee provided fascinating stories of his service in World War II and his post-war career. The video is well worth the watch. It is posted below for you to see.