Col. Charles McGee Celebrates 100th Birthday at Dover Air Force - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Col. Charles McGee Celebrates 100th Birthday at Dover Air Force Base

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DOVER, Del. - Colonel Charles McGee flew to the Dover Air Force Base to celebrate his birthday. The Retired Tuskegee Airman will turn 100-years-old on Saturday. 

Col. McGee is one of the oldest living Tuskegee Airmen, but he was in the Captain's seat of the Cirrus Vision Jet that touched down on the Dover Air Force Base flight line Friday morning. 40 Airmen in Dover formed two lines to welcome him with high-fives.

"What a thrill where technology has taken us," says Col. McGee. "It was such a smooth flight.

Cirrus Aircraft Executive Director Boni Caldeira was in the front right seat of the jet. He says Colonel McGee piloted most of the 20-minute flight from Fredrick, Maryland without any help.  "I'm in the right seat and I'm not doing a whole lot," he says. "I guess I'm talking to air traffic controls."

Caldeira says the aircraft they flew in on is part of a new category for personal jets. "Seven-person, just absolutely the top of the line when it comes to personal aircraft," he says. "Usually people are flying little propeller airplanes." 

The Retired Tuskegee Airman is thankful to celebrate his birthday with today's Air Force.  "To be able to get in the air and share with those who are serving today, I don't really have an answer, but this is one of life's blessings," he says.

Colonel Joel Safranek, 436th Airlift Wing Commander, says this isn't just a way to celebrate Colonel McGee's 100th birthday. He says it's also a way to celebrate the Air Force.


"He's a living legend as a combat veteran from three different conflicts," says Col. Safranek. "He's a living legend for having flown 100 or more combat missions in each of those areas of conflict. To have a legend like that come here, it just emphasizes how special the Dover Air Force Base is."

Col. McGee says he actively flew 27 of his 30 years of service. He holds an Air Force record for flying more than 400 combat missions during World War II, Korea and Vietnam. 

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