HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- (left to right) Retired Col. Charles McGee, Howard Carter, William Vickers, Dr. Harold May, Harvey Sanford and Enoch Woodhouse answer questions from attendees at the African American Heritage Month luncheon at the Minuteman Commons on Feb. 21. McGee, an original Tuskegee Airman, served as the guest speaker during the “At the Crossroads of Freedom and Equality: The Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington” luncheon. (U.S. Air Force photo by Rick Berry)
HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- Retired Col. Charles McGee speaks to members of the 66th Security Forces Squadron and Airman Leadership School instructors about his experiences in the Air Force and provided advice on leading Airman Feb. 21. McGee, an original Tuskegee Airman, enlisted in the Air Force in 1942 and retired in 1973. (Courtesy photo)
2/27/2013 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- On Feb. 21, the base hosted some American heroes as part of African American Heritage Month. The heritage committee invited retired Col. Charles McGee, an original Tuskegee Airman, to be the guest speaker at the 2013 African American Heritage luncheon held at the Minuteman Commons.
Following an introduction by committee member Capt. Wellington Phillips, guests listened to McGee, now 93 years old, as he spoke in detail about the Tuskegee experience and what it meant for his life--from his childhood through completing missions during World War II, Vietnam and Korea.
"Don't let circumstances stop you from achieving," said McGee. "Always think positively. You need to be aware of the negatives, but accentuate the good."
He went on to explain his circumstances. His service and dedication has earned him recognition of some of the highest honors and multiple awards.
"I am a lucky guy," McGee said. "I flew 27 of my 30 years. It was the nature of my assignments that made me lucky."
Also in attendance were four other documented original Tuskegee Airmen: Dr. Harold May, William Vickers, Harvey Sanford and Enoch Woodhouse. A Korean War veteran, Howard Carter, from the New England Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen Inc. was also in attendance.
After McGee's speech, the audience had the opportunity to partake in a question and answer session with these veterans, as well as offer special thanks to them for their service.
In addition to speaking at the luncheon, other activities for McGee included mentoring groups of Airmen and civilians from the 66th Comptroller Squadron, 66th Security Forces Squadron, lunch with members from the local TAI chapter named in his honor, the Col. Charles E. McGee Chapter, and a base tour.
McGee encouraged the Airmen to "treat everyone how you would like to be treated and don't have any favorites. If you do have favorites, don't let it show."
He also reminded them that "your rank takes care of your pay. It's the respect that you garner that will take you places."