Charles McGee successfully completed 409 air combat missions across three wars — World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. Charles McGee, a decorated military pilot and Tuskegee Airman, has died. He was 102.
On Sunday morning, McGee died in his sleep, a family spokesperson told Reuters. “He had his right hand over his heart and was smiling serenely,” his youngest daughter, Yvonne McGee, said in a statement.
“McGee was a living legend known for his kind-hearted, and humble nature, who saw positivity at every turn,” his family added in the statement, per CNN. “He spent the last half century inspiring future generations to pursue careers in aviation, but equally important, he encouraged others to be the best they could be, to follow their dreams, and to persevere through all challenges.”
McGee is survived by his three children, 10 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, and a great-great-grandchild. His wife Frances preceded him in death in 1994.
Who is his son, Ronald McGee? Brigadier general’s family life
Charles McGee, the second highest-ranking officer in the US Air Force after General David Gralla and fourth-ranking general, had a son and two daughters. It was his son, Ron McGee, who informed ABC7 that Charles died in his sleep at his home in Bethesda, Maryland. Ron McGee was also a pilot like his father.
He’s a veteran of the Civil War, and like his father before him, he went to war as an Airman. He was commissioned in the Air Force after college graduation. He began his active military career in Ubon, Thailand, and served with the 497th Night Owl squadron from August 1973 until he returned after the Vietnam War.
Who are Charles McGee’s two daughters, Charlene and Yvonne?
Charlene McGee Smith is also the biographer of her father, Charles. Charlene McGee Smith was his first and only daughter. Her book, Tuskegee Airman: The Biography of Charles E. McGee, Air Force Fighter Combat Record Holder, was published in June 2000.
Here, via C-SPAN, Charlene and her father discuss the biography and his life before its publication.
Yvonne is Charles McGee’s youngest daughter. She told Reuters that her father had his hand placed over his heart and was smiling peacefully following his death. It’s unclear what she does for a living.
Charles McGee’s family doesn’t stop
The descendants of Charles McGee, on the other hand, build on it: he has ten great-grandchildren, fourteen great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild.
One of his grandnephews is named Iain Lanphier; he was present at his great-grandfather’s State Of The Union Address in February 2020 when he was honored. His wife of more than 50 years, Frances Nelson, died in 1996. McGee’s father married them 17 October 1942.
McGee became a Tuskegee Airman on the day after their wedding, when he received orders for the war. He was one of the final surviving members of the group, and he was a Tuskegee Airman at the time of his death.