Brig. Gen. Charles McGee flew more than 409 combat missions during his legendary Air Force career — and nearly five decades later, the barrier-breaking aviator’s service continues to leave people in awe.
McGee, who flew patrol and strafing missions with the Tuskegee Airmen in the then-segregated armed forces during WWII, was the first African American to command a stateside Air Force wing and base in the integrated Air Force. His military service continues to be remembered and honored, including by President Donald Trump. McGee received an honorary promotion from colonel to brigadier general through the FY 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, which Trump signed on Dec. 20, 2019.
Read the story here: https://www.moaa.org/content/publications-and-media/news-articles/2020-news-articles/above-and-beyond-brig.-gen.-charles-mcgee,-usaf-(ret),-on-his-world-war-ii-service/
Each time Mathilda Benson patched up a sailor pummeled from the battles of WWII, she couldn’t help but think of her younger brother, Lewis.
Just a few months before Benson joined the Navy in the early 1940s, Lewis was killed in a boat off the coast of Northern Africa. His service had inspired her to parlay her dream of becoming a nurse into military service.
“That was really tough on me,” said Benson, now 100 years old. “I always felt bad that I couldn’t have done anything for my baby brother. ... When I was taking care of the young men, I felt like I wish I could have taken care of my baby brother.”
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Joseph Peterburs flew his P-51 Mustang close to the B-17 bombers he was escorting through the sky above Berlin, just as he had on 48 previous missions during WWII.
But on his 49th mission, the Germans flooded the sky with fighters. Peterburs, an adrenaline-filled 19-year-old, soared through the sky chasing a German fighter he saw blow up a B-17 bomber. He closed in as it hit a second bomber.
“Just as he blew up the second, I came in from the rear,” Peterburs said. “I saw smoke and fire on his left wing. He immediately rolled over and started to the deck. I just broke off the chase.”
Read the story here: https://www.moaa.org/content/publications-and-media/news-articles/2020-news-articles/from-teenage-pilot-to-pow-col.-joseph-peterburs,-usaf-(ret),-on-his-world-war-ii-service/
When the Gestapo visited Frank Cohn’s childhood home in Breslau, Germany, in 1938 searching for his father, he and his mother knew it was time to leave.
At the time, 13-year-old Cohn hadn’t imagined he would return to his native Germany six years later. But when he did, he was wearing an American Army uniform, searching for Nazis and liberating oppressed people.
For Cohn, WWII was the culmination of years of childhood memories of violence, hate, and atrocities he recalls seeing on his street. “I’m a survivor and a liberator,” said Cohn, a 94-year-old retired Army colonel. “I was not going to be a victim for the rest of my life. With a caveat — we were never going to be like them.”
Read the story: https://www.moaa.org/content/publications-and-media/news-articles/2020-news-articles/a-survivor-and-a-liberator-col.-frank-cohn,-usa-(ret),-on-his-world-war-ii-service/
While one MOAA member splashed down after a history-making trip to space, another is preparing for takeoff.
NASA astronaut Col. Doug Hurley, USMC (Ret.), returned to Earth on Sunday from the International Space Station, completing the first crewed mission launched from the United States since 2011. The mission paves the way for future crewed missions, which will include NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough, a retired Army colonel and, like Hurley, a MOAA member.
Read the story here: https://www.moaa.org/content/publications-and-media/news-articles/2020-news-articles/as-one-moaa-member-returns-from-space,-another-prepares-for-liftoff/