ARLINGTON, Va. (WRIC) — One of the original Tuskegee Airmen who passed away in January at the age of 102 was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.
Brigadier General Charles E. McGee, who flew in more than 400 missions over the course of three decades and three wars, was laid to rest at Arlington Cemetery on Friday, June 17. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. C.Q. Brown, Jr. all spoke at the service.
McGee was one of the original members of the Tuskegee Airmen, a group of primarily Black military pilots who were educated at the Tuskegee Institute and flew in World War II. Prior to the Tuskegee Airmen, the U.S. Military had no Black pilots.
McGee enlisted on Oct. 26, 1942 and flew 108 combat missions in World War II, he would also fly in the Korean War and the Vietnam War. His outstanding service earned him several decorations, including the Distinguished Flying Cross, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Air Medal and the Presidential Unit Citation.
McGee was enshrined in the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 2011. After retiring from military service, McGee continued to mentor young people as well as current and former airmen.
“As a Tuskegee Airman and combat aviator with 409 missions across three decades, his years in uniform were nothing shy of heroic, and his example of integrity, service, and excellence endures,” said Brown following McGee’s passing. “His legacy is foundational to our service, and a daily inspiration for me personally, and to so many other Airmen.”