Tuskegee Airman Celebrates 100th Birthday by Flying a Plane

The centenarian handled the takeoff and landing perfectly.

by - Posted on Dec 20, 2019

Charles McGee on an airplane

A member of the famed Tuskegee Airmen celebrated his 100th birthday by co-piloting a private jet between Frederick, Maryland and the Dover Air Force Base in Delaware earlier this month. The retired Col. Charles McGee, considered one of the Air Force’s most celebrated pilots, according to The Associated Press, took off and flew almost the entire flight, about 105 miles.

McGee, who turned 100 on Dec. 7, is the oldest of the nine surviving Tuskegee Airmen, the first group of African-American pilots to fly combat airplanes in World War II. According to ABC News, the Air Force recently honored the group of airmen with the naming of its new trainer jet, the T-7A "Red Hawk."

McGee, drafted while a sophomore at the University of Illinois, served in the Air Force for 30 years and flew a total of 409 combat missions over three wars, including Korea, Vietnam and World War II.

Believing in the importance of aviation, McGee said he hopes his return to the skies inspires the next generation of pilots, according to a CBS affiliate in Washington, D.C.

"It’s so important that everything we do is an inspiration for them and moving them in the right direction."

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