President Trump honors one of last surviving Tuskegee Airmen, Cleveland native during State of the Union

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Tuskegee airman Charles McGee, 100, salutes as his great grandson Iain Lanphier looks as President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

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WASHINGTON (AP) — A Cleveland native who President Donald Trump said is one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen was honored during the State of the Union Tuesday night.

President Trump introduced 13-year-old Iain Lanphier, an eighth-grader from Arizona, to promote the launch of Space Force, the first new military service in more than 70 years. Trump said Lanphier “has his eye on the Space Force" and noted that his hero, sitting next to him, was his great-grandfather, Charles McGee, one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen. They both received bipartisan applause.

Tuskegee airman Charles McGee, 100, salutes as his great grandson Iain Lanphier looks as President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Trump said, "In the gallery tonight, we have one of the Space Force's youngest potential recruits: 13-year-old Iain Lanphier, an eighth grader from Arizona. Iain has always dreamed of going to space. He was first in 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."

Sitting beside Iain tonight is his great hero. Charles McGee 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. After more than 130 combat missions in World War II, he came back to a country still struggling for Civil Rights and went on to serve America in Korea and Vietnam. On December 7th, 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. General McGee: Our Nation salutes you."

More on the State of the Union, here.

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