On the eve of his 101st birthday, today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Air Force Veteran Charles Edward McGee, a Tuskegee Airman who served 30 years.
Charles Edward McGee was born in Dec. 7, 1919 in Cleveland, Ohio. He studied engineering at the University of Illinois. When the United States entered World War II, McGee was able to defer his draft. After finishing his sophomore year, he joined in October 1942.
McGee trained at the Tuskegee Army Airfield in Alabama. After six months, he deployed to the Mediterranean theater in April 1943. While in Africa, McGee joined the 99th Pursuit Squadron and 332nd Fighter Group. He patrolled North Africa, Sicily and Italy and completed 136 missions. During these tactical missions, McGee would also help gather intelligence. By the end of 1944, he received a promotion to captain.
He began a tour in the Philippines in April 1950. That summer, the Korean War began, where he flew 100 missions over the Busan perimeter. Instead of returning home, he asked to complete his original tour in the Philippines. McGee then commanded the 44th Fighter Squadron for two years. Before leaving Korea, he became a major.
In Vietnam, he completed another 173 missions. When he left Vietnam, he was a lieutenant colonel. He then served as the Air Force liaison with the Army in Heidelberg. In Germany, he received his final promotion from this post as a colonel.
After flying for 27 of over 30 years of service, McGee retired in 1973. He flew over 6,100 hours. During his service, he earned the following medals: Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross with two clusters, Bronze Star; Air Medal with 25 clusters, Army Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal with cluster, Presidential Unit Citation, Korean Presidential Unit Citation, and the Hellenic Republic WWII Commemorative Medal.
On Feb. 4, 2020, he received a promotion to brigadier general.
Thank you for your service!
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Writer: Aristeo Hernandez
Editor: Barbie Carranza
Fact checker: Vivian Hurney
Graphic artist: Deanna Cannon