What a way to celebrate!
Retired Col. Charles McGee, one of the famed Tuskegee Airmen, celebrated his 100th birthday by returning to the sky to take flight, WTHR reports.
McGee is the eldest of the nine remaining Tuskegee Airmen, the iconic pilots who became the first Black military aviators in the US service corps, even before the creation of the US Air Force. The retired colonel was drafted for the airmen when he was a sophomore in college at the University of Illinois and flew combat missions in Korea, Vietnam and World War II. McGee is one of the most celebrated pilots, AirForce Times reports, having flew 409 fighter combat missions and serving the country for 30 years.
Photo Courtesy of the Air Force Association
On December 7th, he turned 100-years-old and decided to start his centennial celebration by flying the friendly skies again. His co-pilot on his birthday flight from Maryland to Delaware said McGee flew the aircraft by hand almost the entire flight, handling the takeoff and landing perfectly. For his service, he has already received numerous accolades and awards including a Congressional Gold Medal from former President George W. Bush. There is also a bill on the floor awaiting House approval to promote McGee to honorary brigadier general.
The expert pilot spoke to the press about the importance of learning to fly saying, “Aviation is an important technology and something we hope all youngsters get an interest in.”
McGee plans to continue his birthday celebrations by taking flight again! Thank you for your service. Happy Birthday Col. Charles McGee!
Photo Courtesy of David Tulis/Associated Press