Celebrating a 100th birthday is monumental in itself, but for retired Col. Charles E. McGee, shortly after this celebration he would reach yet another milestone in his successful career.
On Feb. 4, he found himself in the Oval Office at the White House being promoted to brigadier general by President Donald Trump.
“At first I would say ‘wow,’ but looking back, it would have been nice to have had that during active duty, but it didn’t happen that way,” McGee said. “But still, the recognition of what was accomplished, certainly, I am pleased and proud to receive that recognition and hopefully it will help me carry on as we try to motivate our youth in aviation and space career opportunities.”
Col. Charles McGee, right, a Tuskegee Airman during World War II, participates in the coin toss before the NFL Super Bowl 54 game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
12/8/2019 0 Comments
Retired Col. Charles McGee turns 100 on Saturday and decided to start the celebration Friday with a return to the sky. While the $3 million private jet was a far cry from the P-51 fighter McGee flew during World War II, his co-pilot said he flew nearly the entire flight and handled the takeoff and perfect landing.
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Article by Brandon Thompson Fox 21 News
COLORADO SPRINGS — Machines flying through the sky was still a rare phenomenon when Franklin Macon came into this world in 1923. Even still, it was hard to keep his feet on the ground.
“I started to learn how to fly when I was in high school,” Macon recalled.
The airstrip he learned on was then known as the Pine Valley Airport. It’s now the Air Force Academy Airfield in Colorado Springs.
“We used to fly around to different airports for the fun of it on the weekends, so doing, we happened to be in the Denver area and we saw this airplane sitting out in a field,” Macon said.
The airplane, a Stinson Vultee V-77, was literally in pieces with an asking price of $1,500. Macon negotiated down to $500 and spent more than that fixing it up.
The plane served in the same era as he, both plane and pilot veterans of World War II.
Out of high school, Macon tried to become a certified commercial pilot but was told he was too young to take the test, though, another opportunity found him.
“Then the draft board started breathing down my neck so I went to take the test again and then signed up in the Army air corps,” said Macon.
The U.S Army Air Corp preceded the U.S Air Force during World War II. It was an era of segregation in the country that extended into the service. All black pilots in training were sent to the Tuskegee Airfield in Alabama.
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Col. Charles Mcgee first time viewing his 1945 photo from Italy in Hangar 2! We love when we get to host our Airmen in the place where it began! March 30th, 2019.
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