Tuskegee airman and last Doolittle Raider honored under House defense bill

Abbie Bennett
July 12, 2019 - 11:33 am
Charles E. McGee, Tuskegee Airman

(Photos courtesy of the U.S. Air Force)

A Tuskegee airman, the last of the Doolittle Raiders and 74 Vietnam veterans would all be honored under the House defense spending bill.

House lawmakers added amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act to promote Col. Charles McGee to brigadier general and Lt. Col. Richard "Dick" Cole to colonel. 

Another amendment called for the Department of Defense to add the names of 74 crew members of the USS Frank E. Evans who were killed in 1969 to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. 

McGee, 99, a member of the National Aviation Hall of Fame, completed 136 combat missions as part of the all-black American fighter pilot unit. During his 30-year Air Force career, McGee was part of 409 combat missions spanning three wars -- World War II, Korea and Vietnam. McGee retired in 1973 with a record of 6,300 flying hours and honors including the Legion of Merit with Oak Cluster. 

Congress urged to offer Tuskegee Airman honorary promotion from colonel to brigadier general

Cole was the last of the 80 Doolittle Tokyo Raiders, a team of 16 B-25 bombers -- who completed a U.S. attack on Japan during WWII alongside then Lt. Col. James "Jimmy" Doolitte. Cole was Doolittle's co-pilot in that mission. 

Cole died in April at 103. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his role in the 1942 attack. 

Richard Cole, last WWII Doolittle Raider, dies at 103

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Follow Abbie Bennett, @AbbieRBennett.

Connecting Vets reporter Kaylah Jackson contributed to this report.

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