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ADA – A Red Tail dog tag souvenir will be distributed to all who attend East Central University’s Sixth Annual Louise Young Diversity Lecture on Tuesday, March 11, at 7 p.m. in the Ataloa Theatre of the Hallie Brown Ford Fine Arts Center.

Col. Charles McGee, one of the first African American aviators in the U.S. Armed Forces, will share his story at the lecture. The souvenir is free and the event is open to the public.

The dog tag replica is the same size and shape of the armed forces’ identification tags. The Red Tail dog tag has a Red Tail airplane on one side with the words “Rise Above” and the six principles of the Tuskegee Airmen on the other side.

McGee, the recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor, was one of the famed Tuskegee Airmen, a group of African American pilots who fought in World War II.  Having served heroically in three wars, he is highly decorated. McGee holds an Air Force record of 409 fighter combat missions flown in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.

He flew 136 missions in P-39/P-47/P-51 with the 302nd Fighter Squadron in Italy, 100 missions in F-51 with the 67th Fighter Bomber Squadron in Korea and 173 missions in RF-4C with the 16th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron in Vietnam.

A book signing will follow the lecture. McGee’s biography, Tuskegee Airman: The Biography of Charles E. McGee, Air Force Fighter Combat Record Holder, will be for sale. McGee’s daughter, Dr. Charlene McGee Smith, is the author of the book. A book signing and photo opportunity with McGee and his daughter will take place after the lecture. The cost of the book is $25 as cash, credit card or check will be accepted as forms of payment.

Smith earned baccalaureate and master’s degrees from the University of Illinois and a doctorate in communication from Ohio University. She retired as associate provost at Ohio University and prior to that served in administrative and teaching positions in New York and Ohio.

She is also the recipient of Standard of Excellence Awards from the Ohio College of Osteopathic Medicine and the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine. She was also honored by the Ohio University Friends of the Library for the book on her father.

Young is a graduate of Ada Public Schools and East Central University (B.A. in geography in 1969). She earned a master’s and doctorate from the University of Colorado. From 1971 to 1974, Young was an instructor of geography at ECU. In 2008, she established an endowed lectureship within the ECU Foundation with the goal of presenting an annual free lecture for students, faculty and community members on various aspects of diversity.

Young retired as senior software engineer with Raytheon Company, where she worked for 34 years. In addition to her software engineering career, she has received numerous awards for her work in diversity, both inside and outside of corporate America, especially with regards to equal treatment of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals. In 2003, she received the prestigious Raytheon Diversity Heroes Award from Raytheon CEO, Bill Swanson.


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