THE Tuskegee Airmen were a primarily African American military pilots group who fought in World War II.
Brig. Gen. Charles McGee, one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen, passed away on January 16, 2022.
Who were the Tuskegee Airmen?
The Tuskegee Airmen were the first Black military pilots and airmen in the U.S. Army Air Corps (AAC) to fight in World War II.
They were trained at the Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama and helped encourage the eventual integration of the U.S. armed forces.
By the end of World War II, the Airmen had flown more than 15,000 individual sorties in Europe and North Africa.
In 1948, President Harry Truman issued the Executive Order 9981 desegregating the U.S. Armed Forces.
By 2007, more than 300 of the original Tuskegee Airmen had received Congressional Gold Medal from former President George W. Bush.
The Tuskegee pilots were such an inspiration to Americans that even former President Barack Obama, once wrote that his “career in public service was made possible by the path heroes like the Tuskegee Airmen trail-blazed."
Who was Charles McGee and how did he die?
On January 16, 2022, one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen, Brigadier General Charles McGee, passed away in his sleep. He was 102 years old.
McGee fought in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
He completed over 409 air combat missions and served over 30 years of active service.
In 2007, he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.
In 2012, McGee received the National Business Aviation Association’s Meritorious Service to Aviation Award.
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In 2011, he was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame.
McGee is survived by his three children, 10 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.
He was often described as kind-hearted, with a "humble nature, who saw positivity in every turn.”
In a statement made by his family, McGee's youngest daughter, Yvonne, said he died with "his right hand over his heart, and was smiling serenely.”
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