Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Charles McGee (center), a decorated veteran of three wars, receives a congratulatory a send off after visiting with 436 Aerial Port Squadron personnel at Dover Air Force Base to help celebrate his 100th birthday in Dover, Delaware, Friday, Dec. 6, 2019. (Associated Press/David Tulis)

Retired Col. Charles McGee stepped out of the small commercial jet and flashed a smile.

Then a thumbs-up.

McGee had returned on a round-trip flight Friday morning from Dover Air Force Base, where he served as co-pilot on one of two flights done especially for his birthday.

By the way he disembarked from the plane, it was hard to tell that McGee, a Tuskegee Airman, was turning 100.

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Photo: Melanie Rodgers Cox/U.S. Air Force

CATAWBA ISLAND TOWNSHIP, Ohio — While the controversy over whether transgender personnel can serve in the military rages on, there are a few people who experienced exclusion in the armed forces when it was more of a matter of black and white.

Literally.

Harold Brown remembers.

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(YouTube/WTOC Extras)

Lt. Col. Robert Friend was always glad to share his story with schoolkids — and what a story it was.

Friend, one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen, died Friday at age 99 at his Long Beach, Calif., home.

Not only did Friend fly 142 missions in the iconic black unit in the Army Air Corps, he went on to serve in the Korean and Vietnam wars.

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USAF Photograph by Donna L. Burnett

Retired Lt. Col. Leo Gray, one of the original Tuskegee Airmen who fought in the skies over Europe during World War II, died Friday in his Coconut Creek home. He was 92.

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U.S. Army Photo by Staff Sgt. Gregory Williams

Roscoe Brown, the last of the Tuskegee Airmen pilots known to live on Long Island, told his family he did not want an elaborate church funeral. He wanted a jazz band to play instead, and for people to get together over shared stories and maybe a cold beer.

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As a kid, I spent a lot of time at the beach with my grandparents in Ocean City, New Jersey. I have fond memories, many of them of my grandfather humming something while working or cooking. Once I asked him what song he was singing, and he answered “the Air Corps song.”

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