Tuskegee Airman receives long-overdue recognition

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(CBS)- The nation is celebrating one of the few surviving Tuskegee Airmen, a group of servicemen who broke barriers as the country’s first black military pilots.

Brigadier General Charles McGee is getting honored across the country and on several stages.

At 100 years young, Brigadier General McGee is getting much deserved recognition.

“He successfully completed 409 air combat missions across three wars,” said Monica Manning, NASA Assistant Administrator.

To mark Black History Month, NASA is paying tribute to one of the nation’s few surviving Tuskegee Airmen who broke barriers in World War two as the country’s first black military pilots.

“We’re flying for two victories. Victory over Hitler and Europe, and victory over racism here at home,” said Brigadier General McGee.

The legacy would continue to change the course of history.

“The Air Force led the country in integration,” said Brigadier General McGee.

The tribute came just hours after President Trump honored the centenarian during Tuesday’s State of the Union address.

“General McGee, our nation salutes you,” said President Trump.

A salute seen from one big arena to another.

The general kicked off Super Bowl 54 with a coin toss.

And even in the applause, Brigadier General Mcgee is still encouraging others to continue fighting for change.

“If you aren’t mentoring a youngster, find one. They are out there. They are the future of our country,” said Brigadier General McGee.

McGee’s mentee of 30 years was at the NASA tribute.

“It’s never too late but it would have been great to have it come sooner. But I thank God he was able to live long enough to get this,” said Mamie Lanford Singleton, McGee’s mentee.

She’s thankful the general is still able to share his message and the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen.

General McGee has also been honored by other sitting U.S. Presidents. President George W. Bush awarded McGee with the Congressional Gold Medal in 2007.

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