Death of a Classmate - Charles E. Powell Col. USAF (RET) - 4th Co.

On the wings of angels, retired Air Force Colonel Charles E. Powell completed his final mission on July 2, 2020. Born on May 7, 1931 in Nashville, Arkansas, Charles grew up in Nashville, met his future wife, and graduated with her from Nashville High School in 1949. He started college at Arkansas College and transferred to the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, MD where he graduated in 1954 with a Bachelor of Science in General Engineering and was commissioned into the United States Air Force.
His 30-year Air Force career began with pilot training at Spence Air Base, Georgia in 1954 and he graduated training at Reese AFB, Texas in 1955. From there, flying SC-54s C-124s, KB50Js and HC-130s, his missions spanned the globe, supporting trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific deployments of tactical forces, aerial refueling missions supporting reconnaissance activities in the Cuban Missile Crisis and finally, volunteering to serve in Vietnam where he was a Rescue Crew Commander and Airborne Mission Commander. In Vietnam, Col. Powell flew 168 combat missions and was credited with 14 combat "saves." He also participated in the planning and execution of the Son Tay POW Camp raid. Across his career he logged over 6.700 flying hours and was awarded a multitude of medals including the Distinguished Flying Cross, two Legions of Merit, Air Medal with seven Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with three Oak Leaf Clusters, National Defense Service Medal with a Bronze Star, RVN Gallantry Cross with Palm, and Vietnam Service Medal with four Bronze Stars.
In addition to flying missions, during his military career Col. Powell served in a variety of positions including flight instructor, Plans and Programs Officer in the Directorate of Doctrine, Concepts and Objectives at USAF Headquarters, and Director of Curriculum, then Vice-Commandant at the Air Command and Staff College and Chief of Staff of Air University. During this time, he also earned a Master of Science in Industrial Engineering with distinction from the University of Pittsburgh, His final appointment on June 24, 1980 was to command the 3480th Technical Training Wing, Goodfellow AFB, Texas.
They say the sum of one's life is the mark they leave upon the world. Charles Powell had already made his mark in the military world, but retirement from the Air Force proved he was just getting started. There were many more marks to make. When he and his wife, JoAnne, retired in San Angelo, Texas, Charles wasted little time before becoming a pillar of the community. He worked in banking and investments, first at Southwest Bank of San Angelo where he formed and directed the SWB Investment Centre, Inc., and then with Wells Fargo where he chaired the Community Bank Board.
And while banking and investments were his livelihood, his heart went out to making his community a better place to live. He served on practically every board in San Angelo at one time or another including United Way of the Concho Valley (President and Campaign Chairman), Leadership San Angelo, Boy Scouts of Southwest Texas, Retired Seniors Volunteer Program (RSVP), Fort Concho, American Heart Association, Project Janus, Inc., San Angelo Chamber of Commerce, and San Angelo Economic Development Task Force, to name a few. He also held positions on statewide boards including United Way of Texas and Texas Aviation Advisory Committee. But he never forgot his roots, giving his time and expertise to military issues including GAFB Coordinating Committee on BRAC issues, Congressman Mike Conaway's Military Academy Nominating Board, and the P4 Initiative, a local military/civilian partnership to streamline the use of public resources.
Col. Charles Powell left his mark on San Angelo in the same way he left his mark on the military, and because of his efforts, he was honored for them, as well. He was named "Citizen of the Year" by the San Angelo Chamber of Commerce (1982), received the "Distinguished Citizen of the Year" award from the Boy Scouts of Southwest Texas (2015), inducted as an Honorary CMSgt" by Goodfellow Air Force Base (2016), and honored as "Veteran of the Year" at Angelo State University (2019). He also received statewide recognition for his work on airport infrastructure in San Angelo, receiving the "Road Hand Award" from the Texas Department of Transportation (2005), the first one awarded in TxDOT's 35-year history for work in "Aviation Activities in Texas."
A man of integrity, determination, honor, faith and love for others, Charles Powell left his mark wherever he went. At the end of his final mission, he will hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant."
He is survived by his wife, JoAnne, his daughter Teresa Anne McKinney and husband, Bryan of Flower Mound, TX, two grandchildren Dr. Colin Bryan Powell McKinney of Crawfordsville, IN, and Caitlin Brooke McKinney Cannady and husband, Jeremy, of San Angelo, TX, two nieces and a number of cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents Alford Jackson Powell and Maggie Mae Powell Cowling, his in-laws Brooks & Iva Mae McAdams, brother-in-law James Brooks (Jim) Jim McAdams.
Visitation will be held on Tuesday, July 7th from 4:30 to 7:00 pm at Harper Funeral Home, San Angelo, TX. Masks are required.
The funeral services will be held Wednesday, July 8th at 10:00 am at Johnson Street Church of Christ also in San Angelo. Masks are also required for the service.
The burial service will follow immediately at Fairmount Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Rust Street Ministries, Hospice of San Angelo or a charity of your choice.
The family is forever grateful for the outpouring of love, prayers and offers of assistance from so many within the community of San Angelo, Tom Green County and the Concho Valley communities.
Special thanks to the doctors and staff of Shannon Medical Center and all the staff of West Texas Rehab's Hospice of San Angelo for their care and support.
Family and friends may share condolences and sign the online register book at www.harper-funeralhome.com

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