Senator wants fast action on honorary promotion of Tuskegee Airman

Julia LeDoux
February 03, 2020 - 4:02 pm
Col. Charles McGee

Photos courtesy of the United States Air Force

Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md) is urging the Air Force to quickly process the honorary promotion of retired Col. Charles McGee to brigadier general.

In a letter to Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett, Van Hollen wrote that McGee “served with the Tuskegee Airmen in World War II, completing 136 combat missions.”  

He went on to complete an additional 100 combat missions in the Korean War and 173 combat missions during Vietnam. In addition, McGee was the first African-American to command a stateside Air Force Wing and Base in the integrated Air Force.  

McGee, a resident of Bethesda, Maryland, recently celebrated his 100th birthday and was featured in Sunday’s coin toss at the Super Bowl.

In July, Van Hollen introduced legislation to promote McGee to brigadier general. The legislation was included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which was signed into law by President Donald Trump on Dec. 20.

However, in order to enact the promotion, the Air Force must now prepare a formal proposal for the president. In his letter, Van Hollen asks that be done “expeditiously.”

“I was honored to be able to assist in securing this honorary promotion authority through the NDAA, and I hope that you will assist me in ensuring that one of our nation’s distinguished Tuskegee Airmen receives this honor as soon as possible,” he wrote.

Meet the World War II veterans who participated in the Super Bowl LIV coin toss 

PHOTO GALLERY: Tuskegee Airman takes to the skies to celebrate 100th birthday 

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