HomeNewsArticle Display

Tuskegee Airman receives promotion to brigadier general

President Donald J. Trump participates in the promotion pinning ceremony for State of the Union Gallery guest and Tuskegee Airman, retired Brig. Gen. Charles McGee, Feb. 4, 2020, in the Oval Office of the White House. (Official White House photo by Shealah Craighead)

President Donald J. Trump participates in the promotion pinning ceremony for State of the Union Gallery guest and Tuskegee Airman, retired Brig. Gen. Charles McGee, Feb. 4, 2020, in the Oval Office of the White House. (Official White House photo by Shealah Craighead)

President Donald J. Trump welcomes State of the Union Gallery guest and Tuskegee Airman, retired Col. Charles McGee, Feb. 4, 2020, to the Oval Office of the White House before McGhee’s promotion to brigadier general. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

President Donald J. Trump welcomes State of the Union Gallery guest and Tuskegee Airman, retired Col. Charles McGee, Feb. 4, 2020, to the Oval Office of the White House before McGhee’s promotion to brigadier general. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

Retired Col. Charles McGee, one of the Tuskegee Airmen, high-fives Airmen during his visit Dec. 6, 2019, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. McGee served a total of 30 years in the U.S. Air Force, beginning with the U.S. Army Air Corps, and flew a total of 409 combat missions in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African-American military aviators in the U.S. Army Air Corps. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Quail)

Retired Col. Charles McGee, one of the Tuskegee Airmen, high-fives Airmen during his visit Dec. 6, 2019, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. McGee served a total of 30 years in the U.S. Air Force, beginning with the U.S. Army Air Corps, and flew a total of 409 combat missions in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African-American military aviators in the U.S. Army Air Corps. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Quail)

WASHINGTON (AFNS) --

Celebrating a 100th birthday is monumental in itself, but for retired Col. Charles E. McGee, shortly after this celebration he would reach yet another milestone in his successful career.

On Feb. 4, he found himself in the Oval Office at the White House being promoted to brigadier general by President Donald Trump.

“At first I would say ‘wow,’ but looking back, it would have been nice to have had that during active duty, but it didn’t happen that way,” McGee said. “But still, the recognition of what was accomplished, certainly, I am pleased and proud to receive that recognition and hopefully it will help me carry on as we try to motivate our youth in aviation and space career opportunities.”

McGee’s successes started early on in his career, when on June 30, 1943, he earned his pilot’s wings as one of the Tuskegee Airmen, the decorated unit of African American Airmen famous for not only their combat successes, but the impact they had on the cultural shift in the military.

His military career spanned across three decades, where he flew 409 combat missions during three different wars – WWII, Korean War and Vietnam War. While serving, McGee was presented with the Distinguished Flying Cross, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Air Medal and the Presidential Unit Citation.

After he retired in 1973, McGee has continued to leave his mark in history. In 2007, the Tuskegee Airmen were presented the Congressional Gold Medal by former president George W. Bush, and in 2011, McGee was enshrined in the National Aviation Hall of Fame. Then in 2019, the Tuskegee Airmen’s legacy was cemented in the naming of the T-7A training aircraft, the “Red Hawk,” in a tribute to the airplane they flew.

“Charles McGee is a genuine American hero whose courage in combat helped save a nation, and whose legacy is felt to this day across the entire U.S. Air Force," said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein. "It was an honor to witness his promotion and to thank him yet again for paving the way for today's Air Force. The Tuskegee Airmen continue to inspire generations of Americans.”

The evening after he was promoted, McGee attended the State of the Union as a guest and was recognized by Trump. “General McGee, our nation salutes you. Thank you, sir,” Trump said.

Trump wasn’t the only one to recognize McGee this week; on Sunday McGee, along with three other veterans, each 100 years of age, participated in the coin toss at the Super Bowl in Miami.

He has credited all these achievements to a simple formula.

“I’d like to pass on what I call my four ‘P’s’ — perceive, prepare, perform, persevere — dream your dreams but get the good education to accomplish the desires and needs of the country,” he said. “Always seek excellence and always do your best in things that you do. Finally, don’t let the negative circumstances be an excuse for not achieving.”

Engage

Facebook Twitter
"Just like the American spirit, our mentality in the military is always 'can do,' never say quit, and never say you… https://t.co/vPfWUoqWFE
“Staying fit is not only crucial for Airman readiness but is also vital in reducing our risk of illness like COVID-… https://t.co/PPXyfjV4iR
Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine is training medics on the use of Transport Isolation System to move #COVID19https://t.co/xnRNB4Xbez
Dept of the Air Force guidance on use of cloth face coverings can be found at https://t.co/vIzKyRwp57 #COVID19USAF https://t.co/bPyuUUfIQv
RT @thejointstaff: #InThisTogether as a whole of America approach to #COVID19 Joint Staff Surgeon Brig. Gen. Paul Friedrichs shares a mess…
.@USAFReserve deploys medical personnel at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst to support New York City after stops at… https://t.co/uZGajRGFlE
THANK YOU to everyone on the front lines against this invisible enemy! #ReadyAF #COVID19USAF 💪 https://t.co/rGbhX7mWuC
RT @PACAF: Within 72 hours the 735th Air Mobility Squadron loaded 31,063 lbs. of cargo containing PPE & med supplies onto a C-17. The 535th…
The Air Force has released guidance on use of cloth face covers. https://t.co/xe7kyznTfv https://t.co/hJCn4MM5lY
A 3D printer creates a prototype N95 face mask at Louis F Garland Department of Defense Fire Academy on Goodfellow… https://t.co/pKTYTmTC97
RT @cmsaf18: Let’s come together by staying apart. #SocialDistancing #COVID https://t.co/S9GACwKoq5
Join @GenDaveGoldfein and @cmsaf18 this afternoon for a virtual town hall on the Air Force Facebook page, 3:30 PM -… https://t.co/MhahC1fejt
Within 48 hours of notification, the @USAFReserve mobilized more than 40 doctors, 70 nurses and approximately 13 r… https://t.co/2RT2Or0XnR
RT @thejointstaff: We are all #InThisTogether to mitigate the spread of #COVID19. Read the latest @DeptofDefense guidance on the use of cl…
The taxiway was brought out of retirement and repurposed for this exercise as a landing zone, which is an area desi… https://t.co/rc71QlsXr4
RT @AirNatlGuard: Taking care of your mental health is important, especially during #SocialDistancing. Hear the @142ndFW's Director of Psyc…
RT @AETCommand: Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training at @SheppardAFB is implementing increased safety precautions amid the COVID-19 pandemic…
RT @AirNatlGuard: Fighting COVID-19 with innovation!💡@VaNationalGuard Airmen are using 3D printing to help alleviate the nationwide #PPE sh…
.@17TRW_GAFB Special Instruments Training course instructors use their skills to 3D print face shields to supply th… https://t.co/odsksEHEar