Charles McGee

Charles McGee was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1919 and spent his childhood in Ohio, Illinois and Iowa. World War II interrupted his education at the University of Illinois and he was sworn into the enlisted reserve in October 1942. He entered Army Air Corps Pilot Training Program in November.

He earned his silver wings as a single engine fighter pilot and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in June 1943, graduating in class 43-F at Tuskegee Army Airfield, Alabama.

McGee remained on active duty for more than 30 years. He became a command pilot with more than 6,300 total hours. He holds an Air Force record for fighter combat flying in World War II, Korea and Vietnam, including 136 missions in P-39/P-47/P-51 aircraft with the 302nd fighter squadron in Italy; 100 missions in F-51 aircraft with the 67th fighter bomber squadron in Korea and 172 missions in RF-4C with the 16th tactical reconnaissance squadron in Vietnam.

He commanded the 44th fighter squadron in the Philippines from 1951-1953; the 7230th support squadron in Italy from 1961-1963; 16th tactical reconnaissance squadron in Vietnam from 1967-1968 and Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base in 1972.

His awards include the Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster, The Distinguished Flying Cross with two Oak Leaf Clusters, The Bronze Star, The Air Medal with 25 Oak Leaf Clusters, The Army Commendation Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, The Presidential Unit Citation, The Korean Presidential Unit Citation, The Hellenic Republic World War II Commemorative Medal, The French Legend of Honor and several campaign and service ribbons. McGee retired from military service in January 1973.

In civilian life, McGee earned a degree in business administration and was Director of Real Estate and Purchasing for ISC Industries, Vice President of Real Estate for Interstate Securities Company and later served as Manager of the Kansas City Downtown Airport. He retired from civilian endeavors in 1982.

His active community interests included the Boy Scouts of America, The Boy’s and Girl’s Club of Greater Kansas City and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). He also served several years on the Kansas City, Missouri Armory Advisory Board, the Aviation Advisory Commission and as a Director of the Kansas City Municipal Assistance Corporation.

McGee is a life member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Air Force Association, The Military Order of World Wars and Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. He was a member of the Airmen Association Board at its inception in 1972 and served as its national president from
1983-1985 and again from 1998-2002.

He has been recognized by scouting with the Silver Beaver Award, the Airmen’s General Noel F. Parrish Goal Medal and by the National Aeronautics Association as Elder Statesman of Aviation. He is a recipient of the Air Force Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award, an honorary doctorate in public service from Tuskegee University and as a Tuskegee Airman with the Congressional Gold Medal in 2007.

McGee and his late wife, Frances, raised three children, became grandparents of ten and great-grandparents of three. Charles McGee now resides in Bethesda, Maryland, where he moved from Kansas City in 1995. He now enjoys six additional great-grandchildren in the family and remains active in The Airmen’s Association, fraternally and in his church.