State lawmakers honor Bronze Star recipient

By Jon Kalahar - bio | email

JACKSON, MS (WLOX) - It's not every day you get to meet a hero. The state House of Representatives got that chance Friday.

Chief Petty Officer Brian McGee is a Brookhaven native and the latest recipient of one of the military's top honors, the bronze star.

Special guests to the Mississippi House of Representatives often get applause and some get standing ovations. But Chief Petty Officer McGee received three standing ovations from state lawmakers.

"It's one thing getting honored by the military or receiving an award, but when it's your state, I didn't even know anybody in the state even knew me," said CPO McGee, who was clearly humbled by the recognition.

McGee was put to the test during his 15 month tour in Iraq. He trained as a medic, but led several special forces operations to stop the flow of explosive devices into the country.

"We were right there on the border," McGee recalled. "We would go out and do raids and find 20 vest bombs, 42 IEDs. So we were keeping that out of harm's way from all the other soldiers out there."

McGee is quick to remember that so many of his fellow soldiers are only honored after their deaths.

"I was lucky enough that my team came home. A lot of them didn't," McGee said.

Representative Becky Currie of Brookhaven calls McGee a good representative for all Mississippi soldiers.

"The courage and what it takes to wear the uniform, and he's just so humble. He says he's just doing his job and yet he risked his life so many times for others," Rep. Currie said.

Chief Petty Officer McGee is stationed at the Camp Lejune, North Carolina Naval Hospital. He is seeking a promotion, and if he receives it, he will serve a second tour in Iraq.

By the way, McGee always keeps home close to his heart. As a reminder of his Mississippi roots, he says he always wears a 2004 Brookhaven High School football championship t-shirt under his body armor.

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