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
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.