An American Hero: Tuskegee Airman Charles McGee Dies at 102 

In Summary

Brig. Gen. Charles McGee was one of the last remaining Tuskegee Airman. The American hero died Sunday morning in his sleep.  

Tuskegee Airman Brig. Gen. Charles McGee took flight when the world told him the ground was his ceiling because of his skin color.  

But McGee’s incomparable contribution to his country is forever inked in the skies. McGee grew another set of wings after passing away Sunday morning at 102.  

McGee was one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen.  

FILE- Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Charles McGee, a Tuskegee Airman and a decorated veteran of three wars, flies a Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet with assistance from pilot Boni Caldeira during a round trip flight from Frederick, Md., to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on. Dec. 6, 2019. McGee, one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen who flew 409 fighter combat missions over three wars, died Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022. He was 102. (AP Photo/David Tulis, File)

“McGee was a living legend known for his kind-hearted, and humble nature, who saw positivity at every turn,” the family said in the statement. “He spent the last half-century inspiring future generations to pursue careers in aviation, but equally important, he encouraged others to be the best they could be, to follow their dreams, and to persevere through all challenges.”  

The American hero completed a lifetime of achievements throughout his historic career: 409 air combat missions in the span of three wars, World War II, Korea and Vietnam, while serving 30 years of active service.  

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McGee was a recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal in 2007 and the National Business Aviation Association’s Meritorious Service to Aviation Award in 2012.  

Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Charles McGee, a Tuskegee Airman and a decorated veteran of three wars, waves after landing in a Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet to help celebrate his 100th birthday at Frederick Municipal Airport in Frederick, Maryland, Friday, Dec. 6, 2019. McGee, whose birthday is birthday is Dec. 7, flew the jet from takeoff to landing, with assistance from Cirrus pilot Boni Caldeira. (AP Photo/David Tulis)

McGree was also inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 2011.  

“Today, we lost an American hero. Charles McGee, Brigadier General and one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airman, passed at the age of 102. While I am saddened by his loss, I’m also incredibly grateful for his sacrifice, his legacy, and his character. Rest in peace, General,” Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said, in a tweet remembering McGee.  

“As the nation mourns, the family asks that we remember the importance and significance of the legacy he left, all of his fellow Tuskegee Airmen, and everyone who played a role in the support and protection of American democracy,” the family’s statement read. 

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