Centenarian Tuskegee Airman gets overdue promotion

President Donald Trump signed a bill Dec. 20, 2019, that included the National Defense Authorization Act that promoted retired Col. Charles McGee, to brigadier general. The bill was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives on Dec. 11 and the U.S. Senate on Dec. 17.

“Col. Charles McGee’s service to our country is remarkable and fully merits this distinguished honor,” said Sen. Chris Van Hollen, Maryland, in a Dec. 10 news release. “I was proud to fight for the inclusion of this promotion to commemorate his work and sacrifice. This progress comes just days after Col. McGee’s 100th birthday, and I could not think of a more fitting recognition from a truly grateful nation.”

RIGHT: Members of Archer Ragsdale Arizona Chapter, Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. with McGee at Luke Air Force Base. FROM LEFT: Don Chapman, Larry Jackson, Richard Toliver, William Norwood, McGee, Robert Ashby, Alfredo Tulle, and Ronald McGee, Charles McGee’s son.
For more information, contact Col. Richard Toliver at rtoli@cox.net.

Sen. James Inhofe, Oklahoma, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said, “I am proud of the provision included in the fiscal 2020 NDAA that allows President Trump to grant an honorary promotion to Tuskegee Airman, Col. Charles McGee, to the rank of brigadier general. I cannot think of someone more deserving of this honor than Colonel McGee. Colonel McGee, who served with honor and bravery for 30 years in the Air Force, flying 409 combat missions in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, where he served as a squadron commander. Since his retirement, he has been a strong advocate in the aviation community, and I am pleased to recognize such a deserving individual with this honor.”

Archer-Ragsdale Arizona Chapter Tuskegee Airmen Inc. (ARAC) has frequently hosted McGee in the Phoenix area where he visited local schools, numerous organizations, and Luke Air Force Base. The 944th Fighter Wing at Luke shares a unique part of the Tuskegee Airmen heritage in the Air Force. Two units, the 301st and 302nd “Red Tail” fighter squadrons, were formerly assigned at Luke. These two Squadrons were part of the 332nd Fighter Group in which McGee served. Also, 15 original Tuskegee Airmen have had ties to Arizona. Six survivors still reside in the state.

Courtesy of af.mil

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