The remarkable week (and century) of Charles McGee

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The remarkable week (and century) of Charles McGee

Alas, I didn't get to watch the Super Bowl, and not (astonishingly) because I was being a sore loser over my beloved Patriots taking a one year sabbatical from playing in it, but rather because I had to get up at 0300 the next morning and drive to Atlanta, 8+ hours away. And so I missed this about Charles McGee as it happened, but caught up on it later:

A World War II veteran from Bethesda who served with the Tuskegee Airmen participated in the coin toss before Sunday night’s Super Bowl.

Retired Col. Charles E. McGee, a 100-year-old World War II veteran who completed 136 combat missions with the Tuskegee Airmen, was part of the coin toss ceremony as the NFL honored the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II.

Born in Cleveland in 1919, McGee joined the Army on Oct. 26, 1942, and joined the Tuskegee Airmen, the first group of black military pilots in the Armed Forces, after he earned his pilot’s wings in June 1943, the NFL wrote in a news release.

Now a resident of Bethesda, McGee served for 30 years in the United States Air Force and recently celebrated his 100th birthday, according to a release from Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen and Maryland Rep. Anthony Brown.

That article though (or atleast my snippet) really doesn't even do Mr. McGee justice, as is made clear from this Youtube Video and the caption:

Colonel Charles McGee first entered combat during World War II as a fighter pilot in the famed 332nd Fighter Group. McGee flew P-47's and P-51's in bomber escort missions with the 15th Air Force in Italy. McGee later served as a combat pilot in Korea and Vietnam.

Anyway, here is the portion of the coin flip with (then) Colonel McGee:

[Editor's note: if the video above isn't there, it's because the NFL took it down for copyright violations.  As I blog this it is there, but they tend to be fairly strenuous in seeking such things out.]

And then after the coin toss on Sunday night, he was President Trump's guest at the State of the Union 48 hours later, where he was in for another treat:

President Donald Trump on Tuesday pinned a single star on each shoulder of 100-year-old Tuskegee Airman Charles McGee, giving the veteran of World War II and the wars in Korea and Vietnam an honorary promotion to brigadier general.

Trump announced the promotion, which was approved by Congress in December, during his third State of the Union address Tuesday evening.

"Earlier today, I pinned the stars on his shoulders in the Oval Office," Trump said during the address. "Gen. McGee: Our nation salutes you. Thank you, sir."  ....

McGee flew 136 combat flights in the European Theater of World War II in 1944, mostly in P-51 Mustang and P-47 Thunderbolt fighter aircraft, according to his biography. He would go on to become a command pilot, fly some 6,300 hours including more than 1,500 in combat. In Korea, he flew more than 100 missions in a P-51. Later, in Vietnam, he commanded the 16th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron and flew 172 combat missions in an RF-4 Phantom II photo-reconnaissance jet, according to his Air Force biography.

Also, my favorite podcast (military or otherwise), Barstool Sports' Zero Blog Thirty talked about BG McGee and the Tuskegee Airmen before going on to discuss the worst places they've watched the Super Bowl while deployed.


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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.