July 03, 2019

Van Hollen Introduces Bill to Authorize Honorary Promotion of Bethesda Veteran Charles McGee

U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) has introduced legislation to authorize the honorary promotion of Colonel (Ret.) Charles E. McGee, United States Air Force to Brigadier General. Col. McGee, a resident of Bethesda, Md., served with the Tuskegee Airmen in World War II, completing 136 combat missions. He completed an additional 100 combat missions in the Korean Conflict and 173 combat missions in the Vietnam War, amassing a record three-war total of combat missions – 409 – of any Air Force fighter pilot, with 100 missions or more in each. Col. McGee completed a distinguished 30-year career in the United States Air Force, serving in numerous leadership and command capacities and becoming the first African American to command a stateside Air Force Wing and Base.

"Charles McGee's outstanding service to our country is truly remarkable. There is no doubt that his efforts deserve this recognition, and I will continue working to get it done," said Senator Van Hollen.

“Dad’s story is one of history, heroes, healing and hope. This promotion would be overdue recognition of the life of a true American patriot and an inspiration to others,” said Charlene McGee-Smith PhD, biographer and Col. McGee’s oldest daughter.

“Dad is one of the most humble people I know who has never asked for anything, other than equal opportunity and everyone to do their best. At 99, soon to be 100, I hope Congress can do its best to make the promotion a reality while he’s alive to see it,” said Yvonne McGee, Col. McGee’s youngest daughter.

In March, the Secretary of the Air Force determined that Col. McGee is qualified for and merits an honorary promotion to Brigadier General. Now, Congress must enact legislation authorizing the President to issue the promotion. The text of Senator Van Hollen’s legislation authorizing the promotion can be found here.