President Trump honored a Tuskegee Airman and his great-grandson during his State of the Union address Tuesday in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“In the gallery tonight we have a young gentleman, and what he wants so badly, 13-years-old, Iain Lanphier. He’s an eighth-grader from Arizona. Iain, please stand up,” the president said as attendees cheered.
In 2019, Lanphier graduated at the top of his class in the Aerospace Career Education program, which is supported by the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc., according to the White House’s website.
The president continued:
Iain has always dreamed of going to space. He was the first of his class and among the youngest at an aviation academy. He aspires to go to the Air Force Academy, and then he has his eye on the Space Force. As Iain says, “Most people look up at space; I want to look down on the world.”
But sitting behind Iain tonight is his greatest hero of them all, Charles McGee, who was born in Cleveland, Ohio, one century ago. Charles is one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen, the first black fighter pilots, and he also happens to be Iain’s great grandfather.
Incredible story. After more than one hundred and thirty combat missions in World War II, he came back home to a country still struggling for civil rights and went on to serve America in Korea and Vietnam. On December 7, Charles celebrated his 100th birthday.
“A few weeks ago I signed a bill promoting Charles McGee to Brigadier General, and earlier today I pinned the stars on his shoulders in the Oval Office. Gen. McGee, our nation salutes you. Thank you, sir,” Trump concluded.
The veteran celebrated his monumental birthday by flying as a copilot out of Frederick Municipal Airport in Frederick, Maryland, according to Breitbart News.
“It’s an opportunity to share in where technology has taken us in the aviation realm and just to be a part of it,” he said at the time.
“To get in air again, it’s a real thrill,” McGee concluded.