Tuskegee Airmen visit Hattiesburg

By Charles Herrington -  Bio | Email

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - 90-year-old retired U.S. Air Force colonel and former Tuskegee Airman Charles McGee of Champaign, Illinois visited the Mississippi Armed Forces Museum at Camp Shelby for the first time today.

"This is fabulous and more and more folks need to know it's (the museum) here and come and share the history as they recognize the veterans and realize what service has meant," McGee said.

Mcgee was one of 3 Tuskegee Airmen that made the trip to Hattiesburg as part of this year's "Trail of Honor" tour in Jackson. The Tuskegee Airmen were part of a highly-decorated, but racially-segregated U.S. Army Air Corps unit that helped break down racial stereotypes in World War Two.

Now, those retired heros are helping today's generation of military heros understand the sacrifices of yesterday's soldiers, sailors and airmen.

"It's always nice to see a couple of young folks out that you can talk to, because they are the future and so it's been a good experience," Charles McGee said.  While at Camp Shelby, Mcgee and the other Tuskegee Airmen signed autographs and shook hands with local residents and young soldiers serving at Camp Shelby.

"I feel like it's a blessing to have some (Tuskegee Airmen) still around for us to even come and sit down and talk to," said Staff Sergeant Janice Walker of the 346th Regiment at Camp Shelby. "We have come a long way from where they were, so we have a lot to be blessed for today," Walker said.

"They are a tremendous inspiration, knowing the path and the lineage that they've paved and just to follow in their footsteps and to serve the country in the same manner that they did, I count it as an honor and a privilege," said another soldier, Sergeant First Class Johnny Holmes, of the 305th Field Artillery at Camp Shelby.

Retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Colonel Leo Gray of Roxbury, Massachusetts and retired Lt. Colonel Herbert Carter of Amory, Mississippi have also made the trip to the Hub City.

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