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Cleveland native and Tuskegee Airman receives standing ovation during State of the Union

Posted at 1:11 PM, Feb 05, 2020

CLEVELAND — During his State of the Union address, President Trump honored a Cleveland native who is one of the last surviving Tuskegee airmen who served in World War II.

Charles McGee received a standing ovation when President Trump thanked him for his service to the country. He’s one of the country's most celebrated pilots. He flew 409 fighter combat missions over three wars.

In Tuesday's State of the Union address, Trump said McGee was "the greatest hero of them all."

"McGee was born in Cleveland, Ohio, one century ago. Charles is one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen — the first black fighter pilots. Incredible story," Trump said.

"After more than 130 combat missions in World War Two, he came back home to a country still struggling for civil rights and went on to serve America in Korea and Vietnam. On Dec 7, Charles celebrated his 100th birthday," Trump said. "A few weeks ago, I signed a bill promoting Charles McGee to Brigadier General. And earlier today, I pinned the stars on his shoulders in the Oval Office. General McGee, our nation salutes you. Thank you, sir."

The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African American unit to fly combat airplanes in World War II.