Cleveland’s Tuskegee Airman dies at 102

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) – Brigadier General Charles McGee, one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen, died in his sleep Sunday morning at the age of 102.

Charles Edward McGee was born Dec. 7, 1919, in Cleveland, Ohio, according to the Veterans Administration website.

McGee trained at 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 the 332nd Fighter Group. She patrolled North Africa, Sicily and Italy and completed 136 missions. During these tactical missions, McGee would also help gather intelligence. At the end of 1944, he was promoted to captain.

According to his profile on the VA website, he began a tour of 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 carried out another 173 missions. When he left Vietnam, he was a lieutenant colonel. He then served as liaison between the Air Force and the Army in Heidelberg. In Germany, he received his last promotion from this position 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 was awarded the following medals: Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross with two clusters, Bronze Star; Air Medal with 25 sprues, Army Medal, Air Force Medal with sprue, Presidential Unit Citation, Korean Presidential Unit Citation, and World War II Commemorative Medal of the Hellenic Republic.

On February 4, 2020, he received a promotion to Brigadier General.

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