Clarence “Mac” McGee

Clarence “Mac” McGee

By Becki Zschiedrich, AFRH-G Public Affairs

In 1935 Clarence “Mac” McGee was born in New Brunswick, Canada and became a US citizen in 1954 while stationed at Eglind AFB in Ft. Walton Beach, FL.  In 1959 he deployed to Japan and worked in communications.  In 1963 he was stationed in Massachusetts at Westover Base where he cross-trained into loadmaster for C130’s.  During Vietnam, Clark Air Base in the Philippines was home base while he was flying on C130’s.  He said the worse part of that job was bringing back the military men that were burned. For 2 ½ years he flew back and forth from Vietnam to Philippines and actually received an award because his airplane took ground fire.  He said he was never concerned about getting shot down because he looked at this as a job.  “It was an exciting career” he said.  After Vietnam in 1968, he was transferred to Langley AFB in VA and cross trained in manpower allocating personnel to bases as needed.  Mac did this for four years and retired as a Master Sergeant in 1974. 

Music came into Mac’s life in 1961, while in Japan, where he learned how to play the guitar.  One of his troops was in a rock-n-roll band and taught Mac how to play the acoustic guitar.  On off duty time he would practice strumming and writing music.    “I mimicked Hank Williams all my life” said Mac.  Mac joined a band in 1962 and played at the Airmen’s Club, NCO Club and an Officer’s Club in Japan where they played country music.  He eventually ended up being the lead singer.  He said he loved the hype from it all.  “When you’re up on stage looking down at the audience, you would see all kinds of things.”  Mac started writing his own music in 1965.  After the military he got into another band in Florida in 1975 where he would play at the VFW, American Legion and other private clubs. 

Unfortunately Clarence had an accident where he hurt his arm and can now only strum with his thumb.  He stopped playing for a few years and then when he checked into AFRH-G he started playing again.  Mac expressed, “Music gives me enjoyment, especially country music.  Some people like to make model airplanes, I like to make music.  It’s a hobby!”

After witnessing Mac perform, I only hope that he will continue to be a guest performer at AFRH-G so he can spread his charisma and gift to the Residents and employees at the Home.