Charles McGee selected as 2024 Paul E. Garber Shrine honoree

Brigadier General Charles McGee. (Courtesy National Air & Space Museum)

The First Flight Society announced today that Brigadier General Charles McGee has been named the 2024 honoree to be inducted into the Dr. Paul E. Garber First Flight Shrine located in the Museum and Visitors Center at the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills.

This honor is selected annually by a high-level panel appointed by the First Flight Society, from among numerous nominations submitted from around the world as well as compiled lists of qualified candidates. The induction ceremony will be held on Wright Brothers Day, December 17, 2024, with a celebration banquet held on December 16, 2024, in Kitty Hawk. A portrait of McGee will be unveiled and presented at the ceremony on December 17th, 2024, celebrating the 121st Anniversary of the Wright Brothers First Flight.

Charles Edward McGee (December 7, 1919 – January 16, 2022) was a member of the 332nd Fighter Group in World War II, also known as the Tuskegee Airmen. His military service was 30 years from 1942-1973 with over 409 combat missions in WWII, the Korean war, and the Vietnam war. McGee was highly decorated with awards including Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal, and Air Medal.

In 2020 Charles McGee was inducted as an Honorary Lifetime Member of the First Flight Society. That same year he participated in the coin toss for Super Bowl LIV and was promoted from colonel to brigadier general.

McGee was married to his wife Frances for over 50 years until her death. McGee lived until the age of 102 and is buried in Arlington Cemetery.

William Douglas, Chairman of the First Flight Society’s National Advisory Committee, served as Chair of the Dr. Paul E. Garber Shrine Selection Panel and managed the selection process.

Honorees for the Paul E. Garber First Flight Shrine are selected annually by a National Advisory Committee from a list of nominees submitted to the First Flight Society and public that is passed to the Committee for consideration. For 2025 the committee accepts a letter of nomination accompanied by supporting documentation.

The nominee(s) may but does not have to be a “first” but rather “…a person, living or dead, who since December 17, 1903, either personally or with the assistance of others, have made such outstanding accomplishments in support of flight operations that they are generally recognized nationally and internationally for their achievements and contributions to aerospace activities.”

The Nomination Form for the Paul E. Garber First Flight Shrine can be downloaded from https://paulgarbershrine.org/call-for-nominations ..

This should be mailed with any supporting documents to:  First Flight Society, Post Office Box 1903, Kitty Hawk, NC 27949.   Nominations may also be emailed to: admin@firstflight.org.

Nominations are due April 30, 2024.

For more information about the Paul E Garber Shrine visit www.firstflight.org/first-flight-shrine/

The First Flight Society created the Paul E Garber Shrine in 1966 to honor individuals and groups for achieving significant “firsts” in aviation development since 1903. Charles Lindbergh, Mary Feik, John Glenn, Katherine Johnson (Hidden Figures), Gail Halvorsen, Sally K. Ride and most recently Walter and Olive Ann Beech, among others.

First Flight Society’s vision is: One day people everywhere will be inspired by the dauntless resolution and tireless work of the Wright Brothers. Their mission is to tell the story of the Wright Brothers through community events, education, and the commemoration of the world’s very first powered flight, in Kitty Hawk, NC.

More information about the First Flight Society can be found at https://firstflight.org

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