NASA Honors Tuskegee Airman During Black History Month Program

As part of its celebration of Black History Month, NASA honored retired Air Force Col. Charles McGee at a ceremony Wednesday, February 5, in the James Webb Auditorium at NASA Headquarters.

McGee, who served as a pilot with the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II – known at the time as the “Red Tails” – was a career officer in the Air Force and also served during the Korean and Vietnam wars, having flown 409 combat missions during his 30 years of service. Of the 355 Tuskegee pilots who flew in combat, McGee is one of only nine surviving. McGee received an honorary promotion to the rank of brigadier general, as authorized by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020, which President Trump signed into law in December, the same month McGee celebrated his 100th birthday.

Credits: Eddie Kyle Photography/Edward Kyle.

McGee is joined by NASA astronaut Alvin Drew, also a retired Air Force colonel, who logged more than 612 hours in space on space shuttle Endeavor on the STS-118 mission in 2007 and space shuttle Discovery on STS-133 in 2011. The two share their experiences on what it means to be a trailblazer and to inspire others to follow their dreams.

The event also featured a vocal performance by the Jubilee Singers of All Souls Church, Unitarian, in Washington. The event was sponsored by the NASA Headquarters chapter of Blacks in Government.