Tuskegee Airman Brig. Gen. Charles McGee Dies at 102

Tuskegee airman and U.S. Air Force fighter pilot Colonel Charles McGee talks about his career as a military pilot at his home in Bethesda, Maryland February 17, 2016. REUTERS/Gary Cameron/File Photo

Brig. Gen. Charles McGee, one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen, died Sunday morning in his sleep, according to a family spokesman. He was 102.

“McGee was a living legend known for his kind-hearted, and humble nature, who saw positivity at every turn,” the family said in the statement. “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.”

Over the course of his historic career, McGee successfully completed 409 air combat missions across three wars, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, serving a total of 30 years of active service. McGee has received numerous accolades throughout his career, including the Congressional Gold Medal in 2007 and the National Business Aviation Association’s Meritorious Service to Aviation Award in 2012. He was enshrined into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 2011.

“Today, we lost an American hero. Charles McGee, Brigadier General and one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airman, passed at the age of 102. While I am saddened by his loss, I’m also incredibly grateful for his sacrifice, his legacy, and his character. Rest in peace, General,” Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in a tweet remembering McGee.

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SOURCE: CNN, Sarah Fortinsky and Barbara Starr

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