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Col. Charles McGee, Tuskegee Pilot and Eagle Scout

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Charles McGee turned 22 on the day the U.S. entered World War II. At the time, he was an engineering major at the University of Illinois.

Eleven months later, McGee left Champaign-Urbana for Alabama to train with a group of Army Air Corps cadets who would become some of the first black fighter pilots in the country, now known as the legendary Tuskegee Airmen.

He went on to fly 136 combat missions in WWII with the all-black 332nd Fighter Group, also known as the “Red Tails.” Later, he commanded fighter-bomber, support and training squadrons and was the first black commander of a stateside Air Force wing and base.

When he retired as a colonel after a 30-year Air Force career, McGee had a total of 6,308 flight hours — 1,151 of those in combat — and had completed 409 combat missions in three wars, a record that still stands. And, he’s the only fighter pilot to have flown 100 or more combat missions in WWII, Korea and Vietnam.

McGee excelled in school and was active in Boy Scouts, later earning the rank of Eagle Scout.


When retired U.S. Air Force Col. Charles E. McGee speaks to young people as an ambassador of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen, he encourages them “to ignore negativity, rise above their challenges and follow their dreams.”

McGee — who completed 409 combat missions in World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars — says he does that by sharing his story and talking about the four P’s.

Prestige. “Dream your dreams, Find what your talents are and what you like doing. You don’t want to go to work every day and not enjoy it.

Prepare. “Learn to read, write and speak well. Get your education and develop those talents you discovered.”

Perform. “Always do your best and have excellence as your goal.”

Persevere. “Don’t let the circumstances be an excuse for not achieving.

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Scout Salute,

Edited by RememberSchiff
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Update Aug 13, 2020

The National Capital Area Council announced that CSCI, a consulting, enterprise IT, and financial management firm will sponsor a new, special council shoulder patch honoring retired Air Force Brigadier General Charles McGee.

“We are extremely proud to recognize retired Brigadier General Charles McGee for his tremendous accomplishments and contributions to Scouting,” said Scout Executive Craig Poland. “Brigadier General McGee not only meets the criteria for the special edition council shoulder patch – he more than surpasses it. The values embodied in Scouting are reflected in his daily life and work.”

The one-of-a-kind patch honoring McGee will be available to nearly 60,000 Scouts, according to the Scouter Digest release.

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Update Jan 16, 2022:

Sad to report, Brigadier General  "Charles McGee, one of a handful of Tuskegee Airmen pilots still alive in 2022, has died, his family announced Sunday. He was 102."


Scout salute and farewell,

Edited by RememberSchiff
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