Tuskegee Airman Brig. General Charles McGee dies at 102

By Sarah Fortinsky and Barbara Starr, CNN

Brig. General Charles McGee, one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen, died Sunday morning in his sleep, according to a family spokesperson. He was 102 years old.

“McGee was a living legend known for his generous and humble nature, who saw positivity at every turn,” the family said in the statement. “He has spent the last half century inspiring future generations to pursue careers in aviation, but just as importantly, he has encouraged others to do their best, pursue their dreams and persevere through all odds. challenges.”

During his historic career, McGee flew 409 air combat missions in three wars, WWII, Korea and Vietnam, serving a total of 30 years of active duty. McGee has received numerous honors throughout his career, including the Congressional Gold Medal in 2007 and the National Business Aviation Association’s Meritorious Service to Aviation Award in 2012. He was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 2011.

“Today we lost an American hero. Charles McGee, Brigadier General and one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen, died at the age of 102. While I am saddened by his loss, I am also incredibly grateful for his sacrifice, his legacy and his character. Rest in peace, General,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said. said in a tweet remembering McGee.

McGee is survived by three children, 10 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.

“As the nation mourns, the family asks that we remember the importance and significance of the legacy he left, all of his fellow Tuskegee Airmen and all those who played a role in supporting and protecting American democracy,” the family statement read.

The Tuskegee Airmen were the first black military airmen in the U.S. Service Corps.

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