Speed Reads

rest in peace

Charles McGee, one of the last living Tuskegee Airmen, dies at 102

Brig. Gen. Charles McGee, one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen, died Sunday. He was 102.

A family spokesperson said McGee died in his sleep. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin tweeted that McGee was "an American hero," and while he is "saddened by his loss, I'm also incredibly grateful for his sacrifice, his legacy, and his character. Rest in peace, General."

The Tuskegee Airmen were the first Black military aviators in the U.S. service corps, training at the Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama. McGee completed 30 years of active service, and during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, he successfully completed 409 air combat missions. He received the Congressional Gold Medal in 2007 and was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 2011.

In a statement, McGee's family said he was a "living legend known for his kind-hearted and humble nature, who saw positivity at every turn. 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." The family also asked that the country remember "the importance and significance of the legacy he left, all of his fellow Tuskegee Airmen, and everyone who played a role in the support and protection of American democracy."