Retired Brigadier General Charles McGee, part of the pioneering all-Black Tuskegee Airmen during World War Two and one of its most decorated pilots, died on Sunday at the age of 102, his family said in a statement.
McGee, who flew 409 combat missions spanning World War Two, Korea and Vietnam, died in his sleep Sunday morning, a family spokesperson said. "He had his right hand over his heart and was smiling serenely," his youngest daughter Yvonne McGee said in a statement released by the spokesperson.
"Today, we lost an America hero," Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said on Twitter. "While I am saddened by his loss, I'm also incredibly grateful for his sacrifice, his legacy and his character. Rest in Peace, General."
After flying as a Tuskegee Airman in World War Two, he built a legacy for the next three decades as an Air Force pilot during the North Korea and Vietnam wars. He retired about 50 years ago.
After his military career, McGee worked as a business executive and an airport manager in Kansas City, Missouri. He also served as president of the Tuskegee Airmen association.
McGee is survived by his three children, 10 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren.