Aerie Newsletters

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Current News

Updated 5/4/2022
Flown West - Peggy Ann Vivinetto took her final flight West on April 12 , 2022.
See Pathfinders for obituary.
Updated 4/26/2022
Flown West - Capt. Col. Richard E. Nelson, III took his final flight West on April 23, 2022.
See Pathfinders for obituary.
Updated 3/31/2022
Flown West - Capt. Reverend Peter Acquaro took his final flight West on March 26, 2022.
See Pathfinders for obituary.
Updated 3/18/2022
Flown West - Capt. Robert (Bob) W. Frutchey took his final flight West on March 14, 2022.
See Pathfinders for obituary.
Updated 3/1/2022
Flown West - Capt. Ray T. Thomas took his final flight West on February 22, 2022.
See Pathfinders for obituary.
Updated 2/21/2022
Flown West - Robert Dey took his final flight West on February 7, 2022 with his significant other, Barbara at his side to see him off. No other details are available at this time.
Updated 2/14/2022
Flown West - Stephen L. Szabolscky, 88, of Remington, passed away peacefully, Saturday, February 6, 2021, at Fauquier Hospital, Warrenton. We apologize for missing this at the time of his passing.
See Pathfinders for obituary.
Updated 2/6/2022
Flown West - James T. Weir, 96, of Indiatlantic, FL. , formerly of Big Beaver Borough, PA. passed away Feb. 1, 2022.
See Pathfinders for obituary.
Updated 1/31/2022
Flown West - Thomas P. O'Connell Sr., 85, of Wales, passed away Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, Me
See Pathfinders for obituary.
Updated 1/17/2022
Flown West - Brigadier General Charles E. McGee passed away peacefully at his home on January 16, 2022.
See Pathfinders for obituary.
Updated 12/30/2021
Flown West - Capt. Stephen Haile Bradford passed away suddenly on December 27, 2021 at his home in MccMurray PA.
See Pathfinders for obituary.
Updated 12/23/2021
Flown West - Capt. Thomas Howell passed away December 18, 2021 after an extended illness. More information when it becomes available.
See Pathfinders for obituary.
Updated 11/22/2021
Flown West - Capt. Henry Patterson Nash passed away November 19, 2021.
See Pathfinders for obituary.
Updated 11/1/2021
Flown West - Capt. James (Jim) Gerard Garry passed away October 16, 2021.
See Pathfinders for obituary.
Updated 9/5/2021
2021 Convention Cancelled
On August 31, during a telephone conference call the Soaring Eagles board voted unanimously, and reluctantly to cancel this year's convention, and to reschedule it for next October. The tentative date is the weekend of Oct. 28, 29, and 30, 2022. The Meet & Greet would be on Friday Oct. 28, and the cruise would be on Saturday evening the 29th. The Banquet would be on Sunday evening the 30th.. All the rules that applied this year are unchanged with one notable exception. The board voted to subsidize a portion of the banquet expense, by reducing the charge to dues paying members to $25.00 instead of the normal charge of $45.00. This is in recognition of the fact that once again you paid your dues, and we had no convention. Guests and others would pay the normal rate of $45.00.

The board voted to hold the current board in place like we did last year unless someone comes up with a viable alternative. If you have one let us know what it is.

To say that the board and our advisers are disappointed would be a gross understatement, as we were on a pace to have a record-breaking convention. We were looking forward to another evening with our two former Chairmen, and I was looking forward to introducing our ten new members and presenting them with their membership cards. I want to thank all the members who signed up and made your reservations early as it made our job easier. When we firm up the dates for next year and get the go ahead from the hotel make your reservation early so we don't run into a problem with room availability and the special rate TBA.

The easiest way to cancel your reservation for 2021 is to call 1-888-236-2427 and do it directly with reservations.

Special thanks to Treasurer Captain Paul Sturpe who has done the bulk of the work in keeping track of the registration fees, and other charges, and designing the registration form, and program. Captain Sturpe will be refunding the convention fees, and other charges, and you may be hearing more from him in that regard. Thanks are also in order for Secretary Judi Todd who was making the name tags, and preparing the drink tickets. Judy Schmidt Colbath enticed many new members to join, and Al Mondell kept us all straight.

Finally, I hope you will read the message below that I sent to the board and advisers prior to our conference call and conclude that based on the totality of the information available to us that we made a prudent decision in the best interest of all our members.

Message to Board and advisers
The surge of covid cases, hospitalizations, and deaths attributed to Covid 19, and its derivatives is on the rise nationwide, and specifically in Florida. The trend is in exactly the opposite direction than what we would hope for. Despite having a conservative Governor in DeSantis there is every reason to believe that there will be masking, and social distancing either mandated or strongly suggested by the medical community. Neither of these things is conducive to having the kind of convention to which we have become accustomed.

Mr. Schofield and Mr. Colodny our guest speakers have had to reluctantly withdraw their intent to attend. Mr. Schofield who is a heart transplant survivor would be foolish to attend and put his compromised immune system at risk, and Mr. Colodny has been advised by his physician not to expose himself unnecessarily to groups where the disease could be transmitted to him. Mr. Colodny 93, going on 94 described it as a Yellow Card. I could probably come up with an alternative program for the banquet night, but there are other considerations.

In order to get 100 plus individuals from the hotel to the Dinner Cruise vessel requires two charter buses. It is virtually impossible to socially distance from someone who is almost sitting in your lap, mask or no mask. Once on the vessel masking would still be recommended if not required.

At this time the hotel personnel are required to have had a covid vaccination, and to wear masks. Previous to that they simply had to show proof of vaccination, to go maskless. Although the hotel will not ask guests for proof of vaccination, they will urge their guests to wear the mask, and to social distance, whether or not they have been vaccinated. How that would affect our banquet experience is open to discussion.

Are there members of our group who are willing to take the risk of contracting the virus? Yes. Is there definitive medical data available to demonstrate the effectiveness of masks to deter the spread of the virus? The jury is still out. What is clear is that the trend is not favorable to us.

The bottom line is that we are responsible for the well-being, and health of all of our members, and as such have to take into account all of the available information before deciding to put them at risk unnecessarily.

I draw the following analogy. No pilot worth his salt would intentionally fly into an area of hazardous weather (thunderstorms) and put his passengers, and himself at risk. Many pilots have looked at the radar screen while looking for a safe route through a line of storms, and they see what they think is a safe path through the line. Once they get to that once-promising path it rapidly closes, and they have entered a "sucker hole". I am cautioning us not to get suckered by our overriding desire to "Get it done"

Distasteful as the thought of cancellation is, I would rather do that, and have a convention that is more like the last two that we had, than to have a half-assed abbreviated version.

Updated 9/3/2021
Flown West - Capt. John Webber passed away August 31, 2021.
There will be a viewing on Saturday September 4, 2021 from 2:00 pm till 4:00 pm at:

Dobies Funeral Home
8825 Old Country Road
New Port Ritchie, Florida

See Pathfinders for obituary.
Updated 8/27/2021
Flown West - Capt. Eugene "Gene" J. Schumacher August 24, 2021.
See Pathfinders for obituary.
Updated 8/26/2021
Flown West - Capt. Alan P. Kasin August 22, 2021.
See Pathfinders for obituary.
Updated 8/13/2021
Flown West - Capt. Edward Joseph Colgan Jr. August 11, 2021.
See Pathfinders for obituary.
Updated 8/9/2021
Flown West - Capt. William Douglas Crawford August 6, 2021.
See Pathfinders for obituary.
Updated 7/31/2021
Flown West - Capt. Richard Noblett January 21, 2021.
See Pathfinders for obituary.
Updated 7/22/2021
Flown West - Capt. Pete Rebstock on May 27, 2021.
See Pathfinders for obituary.
Updated 7/10/2021
Flown West - Capt. James Francis Urbanski on July 4, 2021.
See Pathfinders for obituary.
Updated 5/28/2021
The 2021 Convention Program and Registration Form are now listed under the Resources Tab. (Subject to tweaks, check here often!)
Updated 5/26/2021
Flown West - Capt. Patrick Joseph Connolly on March 24, 2021.
See Pathfinders for obituary.
Updated 5/25/2021
Flown West - Capt. George Michael Crump on February 2, 2018.
See Pathfinders for obituary.
Updated 5/5/2021
Flown West - Capt. Norman Sigel Kerns on April 15, 2021.
See Pathfinders for obituary.
Updated 4/13/2021
Flown West - Capt. Donald Rae Hackert
on April 1, 2021. See Pathfinders for obituary.
Updated 3/29/2021
Flown East - Capt. James W Popa
It is with a red face that we are happy to report that Capt. Popa called to say that he flew East. In other words the report of his demise in the March 2021 issue of Air Line Pilot magazine was erroneous. Capt. Popa says he is alive and well and living in Mooresville, NC.
Updated 3/20/2021
Flown West - Capt. John Taylor flew West March 10, 2021. We have been advised per John's wishes there will be no services of any kind.
Captain John Taylor
April 14, 1953 - March 10, 2021
Updated 3/18/2021
Flown West - Capt. Charles "Chuck" Forrester flew West March 13, 2021. Pursuant to Chuck's request his passing was to be without an obituary, or service.
Updated 3/17/2021
Flown West - Capt. Arthur Michael Romano flew West February 3, 2021. See Pathfinders for obituary.
Updated 3/16/2021
Flown West - Capt. John Lunn flew West March 5, 2021. See Pathfinders for obituary.
Updated 3/4/2021
Flown West - Capt. Roger L Flenniken flew West Februrary 7, 2021. See Pathfinders for obituary.
Updated 2/18/2021
Flown West - Capt. Harvel Horrell, Jr. flew West October 21, 2020. See Pathfinders for obituary.
Updated 2/15/2021
Flown West - Capt. John T Gilbert flew West February 6, 2021. See Pathfinders for obituary.
Updated 2/15/2021
Flown West - Capt. Paul Leighton flew West February 2, 2021. See Pathfinders for obituary.
Updated 2/6/2021
Flown West - Capt. Roland James "check check" Wolfe flew West December 5, 2020. See Pathfinders for obituary.
Updated 2/5/2021
Flown West - Capt. Eugene C. "Gene" Conway flew West February 4, 2021. See Pathfinders for obituary.
Updated 2/2/2021
Flown West - Capt. James Ronald Putek flew West January 25, 2021. See Pathfinders for more information and obituary.
Updated 12/29/2020
Flown West - Capt. Clarence "Blake" Smith, III flew West December 25, 2020. See Pathfinders for his obituary.
Updated 12/29/2020
Flown West - Capt. Robert Kuehnle flew West December 13, 2020. See Pathfinders for his obituary.
Updated 12/8/2020
In Memoriam - Sue Logan passed the week of December 6?, 2020. See Flight Attendant News for her obituary.
Updated 12/4/2020
Flown West - Capt. Edward Joseph Slattery, Jr. flew West Novermber 29, 2020. See Pathfinders for his obituary.
Updated 12/1/2020
Flown West - Capt. Robert M. Toth flew West Novermber 20, 2020. See Pathfinders for his obituary.
Updated 11/30/2020
Flown West - Capt. Larry Carl Niebanck flew West October 29, 2020. See Pathfinders for his obituary.
Updated 9/25/2020
Flown West - Capt. Wayne Coburn "Coby" Johnson flew West Sept 20, 2020. See Pathfinders for his obituary.
Updated 7/30/2020
The following note is from Don Burrows. Also note that an update has been added to Capt. Mahoney's obit showing where you can send donations in Capt. Mahoney's memory if you are so inclined.

A chat today with Trish Mahoney revealed that she's holding her own but (NO surprise!) that she has her "moments". She's dealing with ALL the legal stuff that ensues when a death in the family occurs. My sis who lost her bubby on the 4th is dealing with the same. Patti & Trish talked also & was grateful that many are offering up supplications of healing & courage. In a box of pix found in the garage aka the cavern, yielded up many old pix from Army daze in RVN to a pix of Dick, Trish & me taken by Patti the day after Christmas '96. Happy & very good times @ our respective lake casas. A date for the final service @ Arlington still TBD! Be safe & well, all. When we daily pray (you really should, y'know) pray for the Mahoney's, our wonderful if imperfect country & that we won't lose it in our collective wisdom & efforts to improve & NOT destroy & for each other! I can't get my head around ALL the mayhem & destruction & the laissez faire attitude by some elected officials! Feckless & timid!!! Blue side up, take good care. D&P out west & thankfully 5 hrs. away from "Portlandia" & 6 from SEA!!! Peace!
Updated 7/16/2020
Flown West - Capt. Richard Patrick Mahoney flew West July 14, 2020. See Pathfinders for his obituary.
Updated 7/12/2020
Flown West - Capt. Ronald "Ronnie" Howell flew West exact date unknown. See Pathfinders for more information.
Updated 6/30/2020
Flown West - Capt. Louis Roert Nelson Sr. flew West June 13, 2020. See Pathfinders for more information.
Deceased Flight Attendant - Joyce Elizabeth Phillips June 15, 2020. See Flight Attendant News for more information.
Updated 6/23/2020
Deceased Flight Attendant - Joyce Elizabeth Phillips June 15, 2020. See Flight Attendant News for more information.
Updated 6/14/2020
Flown West - Capt. Thomas Sierer flew West June 11, 2020. See Pathfinders for more information.
Updated 6/14/2020
Flown West - Capt. Danny B Hamby flew West June 10, 2020. See Pathfinders for more information.
Updated 6/12/2020
Flown West - Capt. Nevin Remaley flew West June 2, 2020. See Pathfinders for more information.
Updated 5/12/2020
Capt. Martin Mylet:
Captain Martin M. "Marty" Mylet passed away on 5/5/20 at his home in Hazleton, Pennsylvania. Captain Mylet began flying in the United States Air Force in 1959. His commercial flying career with USAir lasted over 30 years until retirement in 1995. His home base was Pittsburgh International Airport. He is survived by his wife, 3 children and 1 grandchild. Condolences can be emailed to the Mylet family at YTRAM32@MSN.COM.
Updated 4/26/2020
Capt. Arlen Ingman:
We have just received word that Capt. Arlen Ingman passed away in a nursing home in Bealeton, Va. He has been ailing for the past several years. We have no further information. Because of the present Coronavirus situation the thinking is that a memorial service will be held after the Coronavirus period has passed us.
Updated 4/21/2020
Shirley Kirby:
Shirley Kirby, wife of deceased pilot, Bill Kirby, passed away on April 17th after a short hospital stay. She fell and broke three ribs and went downhill very fast. She was 83. She will be cremated and buried at Bushnell with her husband and son. There will be a celebration of her life sometime after the corona virus is over.

The addresses for her two daughters are:

Erin Donnelly
5001 SW 20th Street
Apt. 4510
Ocala, Florida 34474

Dana Hawkins
12297 SE 86th Avenue
Belleview, Florida 34420
Updated 4/6/2020
Captain Ed Rickard:
Former Pittsburgh Base Chief Pilot, Captain Ed Rickard, passed away on Mar. 31, 2020 after a courageous battle with cancer. Captain Rickard was 81 at the time of his passing, and had requested that he be cremated. At a later more suitable time his cremains will be interred in his beloved Wyoming.

His wife Betsy's contact information is provided below..

Elizabeth Rickard
6152 Spinnaker Loop,
Lady Lake, Fl 32159
Updated 3/7/2020
From James Brown:
It is with great sadness that my best friend and mate passed away on March 4, 2020. Cheryl Horst Brown from the Flight Attendant class of 1969, known and referred to as "Pickle". She was Jim's co-pilot on the many years of RV travel. Her favorite being a camping trip to Yellowstone with early morning drives through the park looking for critters. Cheryl loved life and always had a great since of humor during her 17 years as a Flight Attendant. She has requested to not have a viewing or service, she will be interned at the Brown family plot in Johnson City, Tn.

Please no calls at this time but cards may be sent to Captain Jim Brown, 4328 Heritage Trail, Leesburg, Fl 34748.
Thank You,
Soaring Eagles
Updated 2/7/2020
Flown West - Captain Robert V (Bob) Thompson flew West January 30, 2020. See Pathfinders for obituary.
Updated 1/29/2020
Flown West - Captain Ed O'Brien flew West October 31, 2019. See Pathfinders for obituary.
Updated 1/9/2020
Flown West - Captain Don Greenfield flew West January 8, 2020. See Pathfinders for obituary.
Updated 12/31/2019
Soaring Eagles Dues Notice -
Dues for 2020 are due in January. Checks should be made to Soaring Eagles and sent to:
Soaring Eagles
8860 Peninsula Dr
Terrell, NC 28682
- $40.00 for those who are younger than 80.
- $25.00 if you were age 80 before January 1, 2020.
- $00.00 if you were age 80 before January 1, 2017, however, you may voluntarily pay dues if you wish.
Paul Sturpe, Treasurer
Updated 12/30/2019
Flown West - Captain David Byron Kelley flew West December 28. See Pathfinders for obituary.
Added 12/29/2019

This is the beautiful framed print that was presented to Chairman Edwin I Colodny at this years Soaring Eagles Reunion. Mr Colodny generously donated it back to the Soaring Eagles so that it could be auctioned off, with the proceeds going into the Save Our Stinson Fund.
Bidding closes at midnight Dec. 31, 2019.
Those wishing to bid may do so by submitting your bid to Currently one bid has been submitted for the minimum of $350.00.
The successful bidder will be responsible for shipping costs. I will attempt to have Mr. Colodny write a note to be attached to the back of the framed print. I am not inclined to disturb the professional framing work.
Joe Kernan
Updated 12/25/2019
Flown West - Captain Herb Dudley flew West August 27, 2019 after an extended illness. See Pathfinders for obituary.
Updated 12/18/2019
Flown West - Captain Jack Semenko flew West December 15, 2019 after an extended illness. See Pathfinders for arrangements and obituary.
Posted and Revised 11/25/2019
A Friend Passes
Just info for those that went to Dr. Pete Parent for their Phy , that his wife Evelyn passed away this last week. Notes or cards can be sent to him at :
426 W Main St Monongahela Pa 15063
Denny Graff
Revised 11/23/2019
Flown West - Captain Charles "Chuck" Croco Flew West November 23, 2019 after suffering either a heart attack or stroke. It is possible that there were elements of both. See Pathfinders for details.
Posted 11/15/2019
Flown West - Captain Gerald "Rod" Donovan
We just learned of Captain Donovan's passing. It occured 10/23/2018. s name has been added to the Pathfinders list. No other details are available.
Posted 11/ /2019
Minutes of the 43rd Soaring Eagles Reunion now listed under a new navigation button named .
Posted 10/30/2019
Flown West - Captain Lester A. Roberts
See Pathfinders for details
Posted 10/30/2019 Flown West - Captain Richard Pearson
See Pathfinders for details
Posted 10/30/2019
Flown West - Captain John Wholley
We just learned of Captain Wholley's flight West. He flew West in 2017. See Pathfinders for details
Posted 10/9/2019
Flown West - Captain William Tracy
See Pathfinders for details
Posted 10/8/2019
Ship for our Soaring Eagles Cruise
Posted 9/29/2019
Welcome to our newest members :
Pamela Stepanian=, Pat Riley, Jan Grieco, Pamela Dunlap, Vicki Johnson, Pamela Orbe Barbara Gonzalez, Linda Friend, and Gayle McGlinn.
Sign up for the Reunion and welcome these Ladies in person.
Posted 9/29/2019
Flown West - Captain Bill Patchett
See Pathfinders for details
Posted 9/29/2019
Celebration of Life - Dan Friel
Barbara Pressley has planned a Celebration of Life for Dan Friel as follows:
October 12, 2019 3:00 to 5:00 PM
American Legion Post 130
400 Oak St
Falls Church, VA 22046
Posted 9/19/2019
An Eagle Flies West - Captain Charlie Boivin
See Pathfinders for details.
Edited 9/9/2019
An Eagle Flies West - Captain Dan Friel
See Pathfinders for details.
Posted 8/11/2019
An Eagle Flies West - Captain Earl Bates
See Pathfinders for details
Posted 8/4/2019
An Eagle Flies West - Captain Earl Stone
See Pathfinders for details.
Posted 8/4/2019
Reunion Hotel Reservations
When you are making hotel reservations via the internet, you can do everything except to choose the option of a single room with two beds. In consultation with the Sales Staff at Tampa Westshore Marriott we offer the following guidance. Make all of your selections as you normally would, then since you cannot select a two bed option, you will have to contact the hotel. They will make that change for you. Simply email or call her at 813-282-5812, and she will edit your reservation to reflect a two bed option.
Posted 6/30/2019
New Member
Welcome to our newest Eagle, Captain Doug Burke who is the son of Captain Ed Burke who was hired by All American Airways in 1950. The Burke's were able to fly together before Ed retired some years ago.
Posted 6/12/2019
Flown West
Information will now be found on the Button on the Top Navigation bar.
Posted 5/21/2019
Welcome New Eagles
Please join me in Welcoming our three newest Eagles.

Captain Ron Friedhoff, Allegheny DOH 1/79 and a retirement date exactly one month from today. Welcome aboard the Soaring Eagles Captain Ron, and Happy Retirement on 6/20/19.

Ginny Friedhoff, Ron's wife Allegheny DOH 1/79 and the date that she quit flying is unclear at this time, but she did stop flying.

I had the pleasure of flying with the Friedhoff's when I was a fairly new Captain in DCA,, and we had a great time. I look forward to reminiscing with them about the good times at the upcoming reunion.

Our third new member Patricia Riley, was hired as a Flight Attendant by Mohawk Airlines 5/69 and flew until 1/2005. She and her husband Robert reside on the West Coast, but we hope they will be able to join us in Tampa this year.

Captain Joe Kernan, President
Posted 5/8/2019
The 2019 Reunion Registration Form has been added.
You can access it - - > HERE < - - or from the top navigation bar under the Reunions Button.
Posted 2019
Member dues are now payable January 31 each year. Current REGULAR dues $40.00, Members age 80 by January 31st dues are reduced to $25.00.
The Soaring Eagles need your support. Make your check payable to the USAir "Soaring Eagles" and mail to Treasurer:
Captain Paul Sturpe, 8860 Peninsula Drive, Terrell, NC 28682. Telephone (828) 478-1133
Remember to include an update of your status.
Posted 2019
A new service for our membership.
Captain Sturpe has set up a PayPal account enabling you to send fees to the Treasurer. Using your PayPal account make your funds payable through PayPal to:
We hope this service makes it easier to stay current as a Soaring Eagle.
or u.s.= mail
Captain Paul Sturpe, 8860 Peninsula Drive, Terrell, NC 28682.
Posted 2018

'Soaring Eagles' Officers for 2019

  • President - Joe Kernan
  • First Vice President - Judy Schmidt
  • Second Vice President - Alvahn Mondel
  • Secretary - Judi Todd
  • Treasurer - Paul Sturpe
  • Immediate Past President - John Davis
  • Advisors - Bill Leefe, Bob Knapp, Seth Schofield, Counsel- Ron Natalie


Posted 5/28/2021
Honorary Membership
On May 27, 2021, the Soaring Eagles Executive Board voted unanimously to confer Honorary Membership on J. Peter Schuetz. Peter was originally hired by Mohawk Airlines. He was active as a dispatcher and later became Operations Manager. Peter was a great guy to work with and will be a welcome addition to our membership.
Paul Sturpe, Treas.
For the Board

Air Mail Pickup Video:

To start the video, click the small right pointed arrow right pointed arrow at bottom left of image. To view video in larger format, right click on video and click 'Open video in new tab'. Video will open in a new window. Close new window when video ends.
Posted 8/21/2020
Honorary Membership
On Aug. 14, 2020, the Soaring Eagles Executive Board voted unanimously to confer Honorary Membership on Brigadier General Charles McGee.
Instrumental to the growth of the Tuskegee Airmen Association, he holds the record of 409 aerial fighter combat missions over three wars. Military honors include the Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross with Two Clusters, two Presidential Unit Citations, and many others.
Charles McGee entered this world in Cleveland, Ohio, on December 7, 1919, the second of three children born to Lewis McGee, Sr. and Ruth McGee. With Charles' father being a minister, teacher, and social worker, the McGee family moved often, living in Ohio, Florida, West Virginia, Illinois, and Iowa. After graduating from Chicago's DuSable High School in 1938, he earned money for college by working in the Civilian Conservation Corps. Attending the University of Illinois in 1939, he joined the ROTC and was a member of the Pershing Rifles. It was there that Charles met the love of his life, Frances Nelson.
With war declared after Pearl Harbor, Charles heard the army was recruiting to train colored soldiers as mechanics at nearby Chanute Field, for the expected colored soldiers' flight program. He applied for a pilot's slot in this experimental squadron and passed the examination. With his call to service inevitable and college completion doubtful, that fall Charles worked at a steel mill. He and Frances were married on October 17, 1942. Two days later he received his orders and soon was at Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama to begin rigorous flight training with his fellow black cadets.
On June 30, 1943, Charles graduated from flight school in Class 43-F. By the beginning of 1944, Second Lieutenant McGee had joined the pioneering all-black 332nd Fighter Group, 12th Air Force - flying P-39 Airacobras from a base near Naples, Italy. By May of 1944, the 332nd was with the 15th Air Force, flying P-47 Thunderbolts - and later, P-51 Mustangs - on fighter sweeps and long-range bomber escort missions out of Ramatelli. The 332nd, also known as the "Red Tails", soon earned the respect of their Luftwaffe counterparts and of the white bomber crews they protected. By November of 1944, with 136 missions and a Focke Wulf 190 to his credit, Charles was heading home.
He returned to Tuskegee as a twin-engine instructor. Upon war's end, the Tuskegee Army Air Field was closed, and Charles joined the 477th Composite Group at Lockbourne Air Base, near Columbus, Ohio, in 1946. After several stateside assignments, May 1950 found Charles in the Philippines at Clark Field, as Base Operations Officer.
June 1950. Another war broke out - in Korea. Charles soon found himself back in a Mustang and in combat, with the 67th Fighter Bomber Squadron based out of Pusan. Over his tour, Charles flew 100 low-level bombing and strafing missions. Returning to Clark, Charles took command of the 44th Fighter-Bomber Squadron, eagerly transitioning into the F-80 jet fighter. In 1953, Charles graduated from the Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base and later flew F-89 Scorpions with the Air Defense Command.
Charles was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in 1959. The McGee's and their three children spent the next few years on assignments in Italy, North Dakota and Missouri. By 1967, another war - Vietnam - called Charles into combat. Leading the 16th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron out of Tan Son Nhut Air Base near Saigon, he flew RF-4C Phantoms on 173 more dangerous missions.
The Air Force next sent Charles to Germany, promoting him to Colonel in 1969. In June 1972 he took command of the 1840th Air Base Wing at Richards-Gebauer, near Kansas City, Missouri. On January 31, 1973, after 30 years of military service, Charles retired from the Air Force. His 409 aerial fighter combat missions over three wars is a record that still stands.
Charles' military honors include the Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross with Two Clusters, two Presidential Unit Citations, and many others. Charles then went back to school, finally earning that long-delayed degree. His civilian career included serving as Vice President of a real estate holding company, and Manager of the Kansas City Downtown Airport.
He was instrumental to the growth of the Tuskegee Airmen Association, and his many additional honors include the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award, the National Aeronautics Association Elder Statesman of Aviation induction, the Air Force Association's Lifetime Achievement Award and, on March 27, 2007, as a Tuskegee Airman, the Congressional Gold Medal. Charles remains a highly sought after speaker and, with his motto of "Do while you can", continues to inspire young and old alike.
At the appropriate time, I will go to Washington to make the formal presentation of the various artifacts that will signify General McGee's membership in our organization. We are honored and pleased that the General accepted our Honorary Membership. We are honored to welcome him to our family.
Joe Kernan
For the Board
Posted 6/2/2020
Unprecedented.............Reunion cancellation
When the Covid 19 Pandemic became the overriding concern for all the world, I began to have concerns about its the impact on our ability to conduct our 44th, Soaring Eagles Reunion as scheduled.
As you all know the Reunion is the centerpiece of our year, and an event that many of our members look forward to attending. Believe me I look forward to it as much as anyone does.
You may have noticed that I have not sent out any messages encouraging attendance, as I normally would have done by June. I was waiting to assess the status of the various states that were in lock down and had various other restrictions in place.
Although our event is held in Florida, our membership is scattered all over the country, and are subject to the regulations in the various states where they reside.
The state of the Airline Industry was also a factor to be considered, as many of our members Non-Rev to the reunion, and some purchase full fare tickets.
Although we have a few members under the age of 65, the vast majority are in the vulnerable category as defined by the CDC. As a matter of fact, most are in the upper reaches of the category.
After discussion with the Tampa West Shore Marriott it is not possible to determine with any certainty what the conditions in Florida will be in late October. As an example, there may still be social distancing regulations in effect. Although Florida seems to be opening a little quicker than other states, there are still the unknown elements. Masks or, six-foot separation simply would not work for us.
Every year at the end of the reunion we execute the contract for the next reunion, and we did that in 2019. Ron Natalie reviewed that contract and advised that absent Federal or State restrictions being in place at the time of the reunion, The Soaring Eagles could be held to the provisions of that contract that deal with cancellation. Cancellation at this time would have made the Soaring Eagles subject to $8500.00 in liquidated damages. Notwithstanding this provision I was able to work out an alternate resolution with the hotel management.
By agreeing to rebook the reunion for October 22, 23, 24, 2021 the Tampa West Shore Marriott has agreed to credit The Soaring Eagles with the $8500.00 dollars in liquidated damages that would have been due had we not re-booked the event.
I advised the Soaring Eagles Board, and advisers of the foregoing information, and it was with great reluctance, and sadness that the decision was made to cancel the 44th Annual Soaring Eagles Reunion and reschedule for the above-mentioned date.
Some may say, "Well I would have attended". Others and I on the board would have said the same thing. Unfortunately, we do not have the luxury of putting our members' health at risk, or the organization's financial health for that matter. Simply put, better to err on the side of caution.
We hate it, but it is what it is.
Joe Kernan
For the Board
This website is intended to recognize the contribution made by Employees and Managers who built USAir.

USAir became an airline created by mergers involving several airline companies which brought effective resources to the system in the form of routes, equipment and well qualified employee groups.
The management team developed by Mr. Leslie O. Barnes began a movement toward a growth pattern developing into one of the largest and most efficient airlines in the world. Mr. Barnes was succeeded by Edwin I. Colodny as President and Chairman. Mr. Colodny established a great management team that included Mr. Seth "Butch" Schofield, who eventually became President and Chairman.
These officers took advantage of opportunity to grow and prosper. Mergers were brought to completion that considered the welfare of all employees in addition to strengthening the airline marketplace standing.
Allegheny, Lake Central, Mohawk, Pacific Southwest, Piedmont are the airlines that formed USAir.

Chairman Leslie O. Barnes and Flight Attendants introduce modern jet prop service using the Napier powered Convair. The Napier powered Convair was short lived. It was replaced by the Allison powered 580 Convair. The seven Flight Attendants wearing the bright colored outfits were on loan from Hawaii as a promotional plan for the service.

Retired Chairman Ed Colodny accepts his Eagle Award from the Soaring Eagles in recognition of his outstanding service to USAir and the employee groups. Mr. Colodny's appreciation is obvious.

Retired Chairman and CEO Seth "Butch" Schofield displays his Soaring Eagles Award recognizing his outstanding service to USAir and the employee groups.

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