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Brig. Gen. Charles McGee, Tuskegee Airman, died at 102

  • Published

Brig. Gen. Charles McGee, one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen, passed away Jan. 17, 2022 at the age of 102.

McGee was a retired fighter pilot and one of the last living members of the Tuskegee Airmen, an all-African-American military pilot group who fought during World War II as part of the 332d Fighter Group. 

"We are honored to remember and celebrate the life of one of our very own Red Tail legends, Brig. Gen. Charles McGee, who passed away last night at the age of 102," Brig. Gen. Christopher Sage, 332d AEW commander said. "Brig. Gen. McGee became one of America’s first Black fighter pilots as part of the Tuskegee Airmen and was assigned to the 332d Fighter Group. The Tuskegee Airmen pioneered the evolution of Black aviators and helped pave the way to desegregate the military after World War II ended. As current Red Tails, we carry on the legacy the Tuskegee Airmen set forth. Keep setting the Red Tail Standard in defense of our nation!"

McGee was a career officer in the United States Air Force for more than 30 years and flew a three-war total of 409 combat missions in WWII, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, one of the highest combat totals and longest active-duty careers by any Air Force fighter pilot in history.

For his service, he received the Distinguished Flying Cross and Bronze Star Medal, among other military honors. In 2007, as a member of the Tuskegee Airmen, McGee received the Congressional Gold Medal. In 2011, he was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame and on February 4, 2020, was promoted from colonel to brigadier general.