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|Signatures on this item|
|*The value given for each signature has been calculated by us based on the historical significance and rarity of the signature. Values of many pilot signatures have risen in recent years and will likely continue to rise as they become more and more rare.|
Colonel Charles McGee
*Signature Value : £40
|Charles McGee graduated from flight school and shipped out to Italy in December 1943 as a flight Lieutenant in the 302nd fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group. He flew missions in North Africa, Italy and Germany, and got his first victory on 24th August flying escort in the Ploesti oil field raid. After the war this outstanding flyer commanded fighter squadrons throughout the United States, Italy, the Philippines and Germany, logging up more than 6,100 hours in 409 combat missions spanning World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Serving in the armed forces for 30 years he holds the record of flying more combat missions than any other USAF pilot in history. Born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1919, Charles MeGee, who was to become a Command Aviator who would fly combat missions in three different military conflicts, spent his childhood in Ohio, Illinois, and Iowa. Following two years attending the University of Illinois, WW 11 began, and McGee was sworn into the US Army enlisted reserves on October 26, 1942. He was accepted for pilot training in November and entered the Army Air Corps Aviation Cadet Training Program. McGee earned his wings and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in June 1943, as a member of Class 43-F at Tuskegee Army Air Field. He was assigned along with many of the other black pilots who had earned their wings at Tuskegee to the 332 nd Fighter Group in Italy. With the 302nd Fighter Squadron McGee trained in the P-40 and would later fly more than 82 tactical missions in the P-39. His fighter group was then transferred into the Fifteenth Air Force and he first flew the P-47 and several weeks later the P-51 Mustang. In this duty, along with other "Tuskegee Airmen," McGee performed admirably surmounting many of the unfortunate hurdles placed in their path. The Tuskegee Ainnen became known for their superlative effort at protecting allied bombers from attacking German fighters. McGee is credited with downing one Fw- 190, and the destruction or damage of many others on the ground. He became a flight leader, was promoted to Captain, and after flying 54 more combat missions, returned to Alabama as a twin engine flight instructor. In 1950 McGee flew 100 more combat missions with the 67th Fighter Bomber Squadron of the 18th Fighter Group. He was then made Commander of the 44th Bomber Squadron flying out of Clark Field in the Philippines. Later he would serve with an F-89 Interceptor Squadron, and following a number of interesting operational and staff assignments he would serve as Commander of the 16th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron deployed in Vietnam. In his year in Vietnam, McGee would fly another 173 missions. Later assignments included Air Liason Officer for USAEUR and 7th Army, Chief of Maintenance for the 50th Tactical Fighter Wing, Director of Maintenance Engineering for AF Communication Service, and Commander of Richards-Gebaur AFB, and the 1840 Air Base Wing. He retired from the USAF in 1973 with 6,300 flying hours, including 1,100 hours flown on fighter combat missions. Col. McGee earned a BA Degree in Business Administration and worked for many years in the real estate business with ISC Financial Corporation. He also served as Director of Administration forthe city of Prairie Village, Kanasas, and as Manager of the downtown Kansas City Airport. Now fully retired Charles lives with his wife, the former Frances Nelson of Champaign, Illinois. The McGees have three children, ten grandchildren, and five great grandchildren. His numerous decorations include the Legion of Merit with one cluster, the Distinguished Flying Cross with two clusters, the Bronze Star, the Air Medal with 25 clusters, the Army Commendation Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal with one cluster, a Presidential Unit Citation, and the Korean Presidential Unit Citation, to name only a few.|
|The Aircraft :|
|Mustang||The ubiquitous North American P-51 Mustang, which many consider to be the best all-around fighter of WW II, owes its origins to the British Air Ministry. Following Britains entry into WW II in 1939, the RAF was interested in purchasing additional fighter aircraft from American sources, particularly the Curtiss P-40. Curtiss, which was busy, was unable to guarantee timely delivery so the British approached North American Aviation as a possible second source for the P-40. North American chose to propose its own fighter design which would use the same Allison engine as the P-40. Utilizing new laminar flow wings, the North American fighter was expected to have performance better than the P-40. Developed in record time the new aircraft was designated as a Mustang I by the Brits, whereas the USAAF ordered two for evaluation which were designated XP-51 Apaches. Intrigued with the possibility of using this aircraft also as a dive bomber, North American proposed this to the USAAF which decided to order 500 of the P-51 aircraft to be modified for dive bombing use. Designated as the A-36 Invader, this version of the Mustang utilized dive flaps, and bomb racks under each wing. Some reinforcing of the structural members was also required because of the G-forces to be encountered in dive bombing. A-36s entered combat service with the USAAF prior to any P-51s. In early 1943 the 86th and 27th Fighter Bomber Groups of the 12th Air Force began flying A-36s out of Northern Africa. Despite some early problems with instability caused by the dive flaps, the A-36 was effective in light bombing and strafing roles. It was not, however, capable of dog fighting with German fighters, especially at higher altitudes. Despite these drawbacks one USAAF pilot, Captain Michael T. Russo, who served with the 16th Bomb Squadron of the 27th Fighter Bomber Group, was credited with five confirmed aerial victories in the A-36, thereby becoming the first mustang ace.|
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