A veteran military hero who fought in multiple wars died on Jan. 16.
Tuskegee Airmen member Charles McGee flew 409 fighter combat missions in three wars before passing away at the age of 102.
The Associated Press revealed McGee was one of 900 men trained in Alabama between 1940 and 1946. He was also one of the few American pilots to fly combat missions during World War II and both the Korean and Vietnam wars.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Vice President Kamala Harris (D) called the late veteran a national idol.
“We lost an American hero,” Austin said on Twitter. “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 am also incredibly grateful for his sacrifice, legacy, and character—rest in peace, general.”
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. pic.twitter.com/3GLNbfRHs7— Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III (@SecDef) January 16, 2022
Vice President Harris recalled she last spoke with McGee to thank him for his military service.
“I had the honor of calling him last month on his 102nd birthday to thank him for his service to our nation,” she said on Twitter. “A member of the Tuskegee Airmen, he completed over 400 missions during World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.”
Today, we lost an American hero, Brigadier General Charles McGee. A member of the Tuskegee Airmen, he completed over 400 missions during World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. I had the honor of calling him last month on his 102nd birthday to thank him for his service to our nation. pic.twitter.com/p8MfrR1hQ3— Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP) January 17, 2022
Former President Trump had promoted McGee to the honorary rank of brigadier general shortly after his 100th birthday.
McGee received a standing ovation from Congress members after Trump introduced him during the 2020 State of the Union address.
Son Ron McGee confirmed the veteran died in his sleep at home in Bethesda, Md.
“[He was] a living legend known for his kind-hearted and humble nature, who saw positivity at every turn,” the family said in a statement obtained by the newswire agency.
He is survived by daughters Charlene McGee Smith and Yvonne McGee, 10 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, and one great-great grandchild. His wife Frances died back in 1994.