Friends of the National World War II Memorial annually presents the Brigadier General Charles E. McGee UNITY Award to an individual or group that exemplifies the spirit of unity and shared values that were prevalent during World War II, when Americans were at their very best and most unified in the fight against authoritarianism, fascism, and racism.
Friends is proud to present the 2022 Brigadier General Charles E. McGee UNITY Award to former Secretary of Commerce and Transportation The Honorable Norman Y. Mineta for Mineta’s lifelong public service as a military veteran, Congressman, Cabinet member, and advocate for noble causes in the pursuit of educating our youth about democracy and what it means to be an American citizen. Last year's inaugural award was presented to television broadcaster and trailblazer Robin Roberts.
Named for a true gentleman, retired Air Force Brigadier General Charles E. McGee, embodied and lived by the highest American ideals, this UNITY award is a significant recognition of an individual or group actively working for the betterment of their community and beyond and for living up to the moral integrity espoused by General McGee and his fellow members of the “Greatest Generation”.
General McGee was one of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen, an all African-American military pilot group who fought during World War II. He was stationed in Italy with the 302nd Fighter Squadron of the 332d Fighter Group, flying his first mission on Valentine’s Day 1944.
This “gentle warrior” served more than 30 years and flew a total of 409 combat missions in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, one of the highest combat totals and longest active-duty careers by any Air Force fighter pilot in history. General McGee faced much discrimination during his time in service; but, fought for his country with honor and dignity in three wars, defying odds and dispelling perceptions. General McGee spent a lifetime inspiring others with his wisdom, goodness, and mentorship for all people to live up to their potential and to help make our communities, our country, and this world a better place.