'American Hero' Charles McGee, Tuskegee Airmen who flew 400 missions, dies at 102

McGee served in three major U.S. wars over the course of his Air Force career.

Updated: January 17, 2022 - 7:31am

Charles McGee, a 102-year-old member of the Tuskegee Airmen who flew more than 400 combat missions over the course of three wars, died on Sunday.

McGee's passing was acknowledged by both Vice President Kamala Harris and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. 

"A member of the Tuskegee Airmen, he completed over 400 missions during World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. I had the honor of calling him last month on his 102nd birthday to thank him for his service to our nation," Harris wrote on Twitter.

After the Army Air Corps became obligated to admit black pilots, McGee became one of 900 men to train in Alabama from 1940 to 1946. In 1942, McGee left the University of Illinois for the Tuskegee Army Air Field, which would proceed a 30-year Air Force Career.

Two-and-a-half decades ago, McGee told the Associated Press, "You could say that one of the things we were fighting for was equality. Equality of opportunity. We knew we had the same skills, or better."

Prior to his 100th birthday, McGee was promoted to the rank of brigadier general by former President Donald Trump.