100-year-old Tuskegee Airman from Bethesda flips the coin at Super Bowl LIV
MIAMI - Col. Charles McGee is still living large at 100 years old.
The retired Tuskegee Airman, of Bethesda, helped to flip the coin at Super Bowl LIV on Sunday.
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McGee joined three other 100-year-old veterans in the ceremony, which was part of the NFL's centennial celebration.
McGee is believed to be the oldest living Tuskegee Airman, and also flew two private jets the week of his 100th birthday.
McGee was 22 when he became a part of history in the making.
“I took the exams and passed and all I can say was when I got a call after that first flight I was hooked,” McGee recalled back on his 100th birthday in December. “Back then we didn't realize what was taking place. We were doing something supporting the country.”
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McGee went on to command a squadron and set a record after completing a total of 409 combat missions during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. He said his squads all had one goal.
“Our role moving into bomber escort was to save American lives,” he said. “I don't see myself as a hero. I see myself as one little American that did accomplish something that was helpful.”
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McGee’s home in Bethesda is filled with awards, including a Congressional Gold Medal from President George W. Bush and another honor waits in the wings. In July, the Senate passed a bill pushed by Sen. Chris Van Hollen to give McGee an honorary promotion to brigadier general. It now sits before the House for approval for the president's signature.
His recognition instills pride in his three children, 10 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.
His secret to a long and happy life is simple.
“Life is just a blessing and you just march on and be positive, not the negative, and see how things come out,” he said with a smile.