Applied for a pilot’s slot in an experimental all black squadron and received orders to Tuskegee Army Air Field in 1942.
Was instrumental to the growth of the Tuskegee Airmen Association.
Joined the pioneering all-black 332nd Fighter Group, 12th Air Force, flying P-39 Airacobras from a base near Naples, Italy. By May of 1944, the 332nd was with the 15th Air Force, flying P-47 Thunderbolts, and later, P-51 Mustangs on fighter sweeps and long-range bomber escort missions out of Ramatelli. The 332nd, also known as the “Red Tails,” soon earned the respect of their Luftwaffe counterparts and of the white bomber crews they protected.
Returned to Tuskegee as a twin engine instructor after 136 missions overseas. After the airfield was closed following World War II, McGee served as Base Operations Officer in the Philippines at Clark Field.
Assigned to the 67th Fighter Bomber Squadron based out of Pusan during the Korean War. Over his tour, Charles flew 100 low level bombing and strafing missions.
Graduated from the Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base in 1953 and later flew F-89 Scorpions with the Air Defense Command.
Led the 16th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron out of Tan Son Nhut Air Base near Saigon during the Vietnam War where he flew RF-4C Phantoms on 173 more dangerous missions.
Took command of the 1840th Air Base Wing at Richards-Gebauer, near Kansas City, Missouri.
Set a record of 409 aerial fighter combat missions over three wars.
Awarded the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award, the National Aeronautics Association Elder Statesman of Aviation induction, the Air Force Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award and, on March 27, 2007, as a Tuskegee Airman, the Congressional Gold Medal.
Received military honors such as the Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross with Two Clusters, two Presidential Unit Citations, and many others.