D.C. Post Changes Name to Honor Late Tuskegee Airman

The Post’s commander said Air Force Brig. Gen. Charles McGee was “instrumental” in paving the way for veterans like him to become leaders in today’s military

The only VFW Post in Washington, D.C., held a dedication ceremony on May 7 to name the Post in honor of the late Air Force Brig. Gen. Charles McGee, an esteemed member of the Tuskegee Airmen.

Members of Brigadier General Charles E. McGee VFW Post 341 renamed and dedicated their Post in honor of the airman, who is well-regarded in the military community. Post 341 Commander Anthony Lowe said that in Post 341’s more than 100-year history, naming the Post after McGee was “one of the most monumental events ever” for the entire organization.

“McGee was instrumental in paving the way for African Americans and people of color in the military,” Lowe said. “The general was such a remarkable man and leader.”

Retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Charles McGee, a Tuskegee Airman, signs a P-51 Mustang model
Retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Charles McGee, a Tuskegee Airman, signs a P-51 Mustang model during his visit to the 99th Flying Training Squadron on Dec. 6, 2021, at Texas’ Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph.
McGee, 102, passed away on Jan. 16 at his home in Bethesda, Maryland. Former President Donald Trump in 2019 gave McGee, a Life member of VFW Post 341, an honorary commission from colonel to a one-star general. McGee served in World War II, as well as the Korean and Vietnam wars, and participated in more than 400 combat missions during his time in the military.

VFW Washington Office Executive Director Bob Wallace, staff members of VFW’s Washington Office and McGee’s daughter, Yvonne, attended the Post’s dedication ceremony.

Yvonne is McGee’s youngest daughter and was there to represent McGee’s family.

“Yvonne brought in so many pieces of memorabilia and pictures to us during the dedication ceremony,” Lowe said. “Her doing that for us was very special.”

The proposal to honor McGee was “enthusiastically received” by all members of Post 341, said Lowe, a 29-year veteran of the Air Force. The Post commander added that the approval was “unanimous” among Post members.

“When we heard of McGee’s passing,” Lowe said, “we at the Post immediately thought there was no better person to be the name of this Post — simply because of his leadership, vision and attitude working in the military and veterans’ community. We held a special meeting to vote on the renaming of the Post. We had the support of VFW National Headquarters to expedite the process.”

Lowe said McGee and the Tuskegee Airmen proved to America that, regardless of race or creed, people of color and African Americans could perform at the highest levels of the military’s aviation services.

“The Tuskegee Airmen paved the way for me, as an African American, who was able to achieve great things in our military,” said Lowe, a retired chief master sergeant. “That would not have been possible without the Tuskegee Airmen and Brig. Gen. McGee. They are the ones who broke down racial barriers, stigmas and misconceptions about African Americans and people of color.” 

This article is featured in the October 2022 issue of VFW magazine, and was written by Dave Spiva, associate editor for VFW magazine.