Showing posts with label US Air Force. Show all posts
Showing posts with label US Air Force. Show all posts

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Tuskegee Airman Charles McGee dies at 102

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.

Friday, August 07, 2020

History made as first African American general leads one of the military services

Gen. Charles "CQ" Brown, Jr. became the new Air Force chief of staff on Thursday, making history as the first African American to lead one of the military services.

Brown succeeded Gen. David Goldfein, as the Air Force's 22nd chief of staff at a ceremony at Joint Base Andrews, where the significance of the moment was not lost on Brown.

"This is a very historic day for our nation, and I do not take this moment lightly," he said in remarks to an audience of VIP's at one of the base's spacious hangars.

"Today is possible due to the perseverance of those who went before me, serving as an inspiration to me and so many others," he said.

He mentioned those forebears as the Tuskegee Airmen, the trailblazing World War II fighter unit that was made up entirely of African Americans.

Read more: History made as first African American general leads one of the military services

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Senate confirms Brown to be 22nd Air Force chief of staff

The U.S. Senate confirmed Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., June 9, to be the 22nd Air Force chief of staff, clearing the way for the decorated pilot and experienced commander to become the first African American in history to lead a branch of the U.S. military as its highest-ranking officer.

The vote was 98-0.

In advance of today’s vote on his confirmation, Brown testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee during a hearing May 7. During the hearing, Brown pledged to ensure Air Force readiness to support the National Defense Strategy, if confirmed. “I am committed to the Air Force achieving irreversible momentum towards implementation of the National Defense Strategy and an integrated and more lethal joint force,” Brown said.

Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett congratulated Brown on his confirmation and highlighted the important role he will play leading the Air Force into the future and carrying on the strategic vision of the current Air Force chief of staff, Gen. David L. Goldfein.

“I join leaders, Airmen and Space Professionals from across the forces in congratulating Gen. Brown and his wife Sharene,” Barrett said. “Leaders of their caliber will perpetuate the legacy of excellence that Gen. Goldfein and Dawn Goldfein have epitomized over the last four years. Gen. Brown’s unrivaled leadership, operational experience and global perspective will prove crucial as we continue modernizing the Air Force to meet tomorrow’s national security challenges and protect our nation.”

Goldfein also congratulated Brown and cited his unparalleled qualifications to be the next Air Force chief of staff. “There is no one I know who is better prepared to be chief of staff, no one who has the experience and the temperament to lead the Air Force,” Goldfein said. “The Air Force and our nation will be in good hands under his leadership.”

Chief of Space Operations and fellow service chief, Gen. Jay Raymond also congratulated Brown on his confirmation.

"Gen. Brown is an innovative leader who clearly understands the complex and evolving strategic environment we face today as a Department," Raymond said. "He clearly understands the importance of leading across all domains to compete, deter and win — especially in war-fighting domains like space. I am thrilled with Gen. Brown’s confirmation. I couldn’t ask for a better teammate.”

Brown was commissioned in 1984 as a distinguished graduate of the ROTC program at Texas Tech University. He is a command pilot with more than 2,900 flying hours, including 130 combat hours.

Brown currently serves as the U.S. Pacific Air Forces commander and the air component commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. U.S. Pacific Air Forces is responsible for Air Force activities spread over half the globe in a command that supports more than 46,000 Airmen serving principally in Japan, South Korea, Hawaii, Alaska and Guam.

Brown will replace Goldfein Aug. 6 at a swearing-in ceremony.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Air Force Names New Jet the T-7A Red Hawk in Honor of Tuskegee Airmen

The U.S. Air Force will call its new trainer the T-7A "Red Hawk."

Acting Air Force Secretary Matt Donovan announced the name of the jet, known previously as the T-X, on Monday, alongside retired Col. Charles McGee, who was a member of the Tuskegee Airmen.

"The name, Red Hawk, honors the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, and pays homage to their signature red-tailed aircraft from World War II," Donovan said here during the annual Air, Space and Cyber conference.

"The name is also a tribute to the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, an American fighter aircraft that first flew in 1938 and was flown by the 99th Fighter Squadron -- the U.S. Army Air Forces' first African-American fighter squadron," Donovan said.

According to a video shown at the conference, the T-7 will have red vertical canted tails, mimicking those of the Red Tail Squadron's P-51C aircraft.

The Tuskegee Airmen defied the odds by becoming the first African-American pilots, navigators and support personnel to serve during World War II, often escorting and protecting bombers.


Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Tuskegee Airman gets diploma 80 years after high school

James Shipley, who was unable to finish high school but went on to serve as crew chief for the famed Tuskegee Airman has received an honorary diploma nearly 80 years after leaving high school.

During a speech, Shipley acknowledged he wasn't a good student during high school, but he was happy to receive a diploma.

Shipley said discrimination was more prevalent when he was younger. "People are beginning to realize that color doesn't matter. It's what's in the heart," he said to applause.

Military historian Jeremy Amick, who organized the event says Shipley didn't have a chance to earn his diploma years ago. He attended an all-black high school that wasn't credentialed through 12th grade. Shipley would have had to travel to Sedalia for his final year, and he didn't have the resources to do so.

The event took place at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1003 in St. Martins. Attendees included Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe, Sen. Mike Bernskoetter, retired Army Maj. Gen. Hank Stratman, and a representative to U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Tuskegee Airman Who Flew 142 WWII Combat Missions Dies at 99

World War II pilot Robert Friend, one of the last original members of the famed all-black Tuskegee Airmen, has died at the age of 99.

Friend’s daughter, Karen Friend Crumlich, told The Desert Sun her father died Friday at a Southern California hospital.

Born in South Carolina on 1920’s leap day, Friend flew 142 combat missions in World War II as part of the elite group of fighter pilots trained at Alabama’s Tuskegee Institute. The program was created after the NAACP began challenging policies barring black people from flying military aircraft.

Friend’s 28-year Air Force career included service in the Korean and Vietnam wars. He also worked on space launch vehicles and served as foreign technology program director before retiring as a lieutenant colonel and forming his own aerospace company.


Sunday, July 08, 2018

African-American veterans monument in Buffalo will be first in U.S.

Buffalo is expected to receive national attention soon, for the construction of a monument that will be the first of its kind in the country.

Karen Stanley Fleming, the board chair of the Michigan Street African American Corridor, says that this monument will be "an incredible addition to Buffalo's interpretation of African-American history."

State officials announced this morning at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park that the state will provide $800,000 toward the construction of the African-American veterans monument there. The monument will be the first and only in the U.S., to honor black soldiers that fought in every American war to date.

New York State Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes, D-Buffalo, who announced the grant along with state Sen. Chris Jacobs, R-Buffalo, said organizers hope to raise $1 million more by Veterans Day toward the construction of the 12-pillar structure.

"The purpose here is just to honor veterans," Peoples-Stokes said.

The monument will be an interactive, timeline walk of every American conflict in which black soldiers fought, between the Revolutionary War and the War in Afghanistan. Visitors will be able to observe the 12 10-foot tall and 3-feet wide pillars that represent each conflict, along with educational kiosks that will detail African-American involvement in each war.

Historian Madeline Scott said that the idea for creating the monument started when she and the Erie County Chapter of The Links Inc. began collecting names of deceased and living African-American veterans in 2016.

"The purpose [of the monument] is to recognize the hardships [black people] went through from the beginning," said Scott, "because history doesn't tell you about that until 1863."

The project has an anticipated budget of $1.4 million, which includes upkeep and management costs, according to monument committee chairman Warren Galloway. The committee hopes to implement technology within the monument that will work through a smartphone app, to allow visitors to explore the monument all while having the information at their fingertips. To raise additional money, the committee is selling commemorative bricks that will be laid on the ground surface of the monument.

"With these bricks," said Galloway, "you can walk and see the impact African-Americans have had in this whole area."

Galloway says that the Buffalo monument committee has been working with Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, and a host of U.S. senators to get the future monument nationally recognized. He says that although the monument is meant to honor veterans, it can be used as a teaching tool, which he believes will increase the chances of it becoming a national landmark.

"We're honoring our veterans but this is also educational," said Galloway, "so we want to attract educational money."

Organizers announced they expect to break ground on Veterans Day and have the ribbon-cutting some time around the Fourth of July in 2019.

The unveiling of the monument is expected to gain national attention and serve as what Fleming says is "a good starting place to learn about African-American history."