Tuskegee Airman celebrates 100th birthday by flying plane

Tuskegee Airman celebrates 100th birthday by flying plane
Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Charles McGee, a Tuskegee Airman and a decorated veteran of three wars, waves after landing in a Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet to help celebrate his 100th birthday at Frederick Municipal Airport in Frederick, Maryland, Friday, Dec. 6, 2019. McGee, whose birthday is birthday is Dec. 7, flew the jet from takeoff to landing, with assistance from Cirrus pilot Boni Caldeira. (AP Photo/David Tulis) (AP Photo/David Tulis/AP Photo/David Tulis)

FREDERICK, Md. — A member of the Tuskegee Airmen celebrated his 100th birthday by flying an airplane.

Retired Col. Charles McGee took off, flew and landed a jet between Frederick, Maryland, and Dover Air Force Base on Friday.

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"Aviation is an important technology and something we hope all youngsters get an interest in," McGee, who flew 409 combat missions in three wars, told WTHR.

McGee turned 100 Saturday. He was drafted while he was a sophomore at the University of Illinois, WTHR reported. He served in the military for 30 years and is considered one of the Air Force’s most celebrated pilots.

The Tuskegee Airmen is the name given to the first group of African American pilots who joined what was then called the U.S. Army Air Corps and flew combat missions during World War II.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.