KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea — Colonel Michael Kucej administers the oath of reenlistment to Staff Sgt. Jon Powell while father Chief Owen Powell, stands next to him Aprirl 23 here. Sergeant Powell reenlisted at his father's retirement ceremony. Colonel Kucej is the commander of the 8th Maintenance Group, Chief Powell is the 8th Maintenance Squadron superintendent and Sergeant Powell is the NCO in charge of visual imagery and intrusion detection systems and wideband maintenance for the 8th Communications Squadron. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Staff Sgt Araceli Alarcon)
OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Then Senior Master Sgt. Owen Powell, pins on an award for his son Jon Powell, at a Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps banquet in 1999. The chief's son ended up enlisting in the Air Force in 2001 eventually being stationed with his father at Kunsan Air Base. (Courtesy photo)
KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea— Staff Sergeant Jon Powell, 8th Communications Squadron NCO in charge of visual imagery and intrusion detection systems and wideband maintenance, goes over plans April April 15 here. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Senior Airman Dana Hill)
by Staff Sgt. Alice Moore
8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
4/23/2008 - KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- When Chief Master Sgt. Owen Powell, 8th Maintenance Squadron superintendent, entered the Air Force in 1978, becoming a chief someday wasn't an immediate goal.
Thirty years later, after 13 assignments, Chief Powell said he's had a great career. Approaching his retirement ceremony, April 23 will be a day he won't forget for many reasons. One of those reasons is that his oldest son Staff Sgt. Jon Powell, 8th Communications Squadron visual imagery and intrusion detection systems craftsman, who is also a member of the Wolf Pack, will be by his father's side celebrating the chief's accomplishments at the remote base here.
"It feels wonderful knowing that I get to serve side-by-side with my father on his last tour in his career," said Sergeant Powell.
Chief Powell, a Richmond Kentucky native began his career as a protective coating specialist. Five years later, he cross trained into the aerospace ground equipment career field. Out of his 13 assignments, six of them have been in the Republic of Korea and he didn't have initial aspirations to become a chief, he said.
"When I came into the service, most folks were retiring as staff and technical sergeants so I set a goal my first year that I would make the military a career and retire at 20 years as a master sergeant," he said.
Chief Powell said he made the rank of master sergeant within 12 years and it was at that point he decided his new goal would be to make chief master sergeant before he retired.
"My wife wanted me to retire after I made senior master sergeant, but in my mind, I had not reached my goal and wanted to give it every chance I could," he said.
It was at the chief's last try that he ended up being selected as a chief.
"I had 27 and a half years of service in when I found out I made chief. It was one of the greatest feelings you could imagine," he said.
Sergeant Powell was born at Yongsan Army Garrison in Seoul. He calls Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea home. His mother is Korean.
"To other people, the fact I called Osan home may sound weird, but I spent eight years of my young life living there. If you add my military service, that's close to 12 years of my life. I've never lived in any other location longer than I have at Osan," Sergeant Powell said.
Sergeant Powell who is the oldest of two sons, graduated from Osan American High School in June 2000. He entered the Air Force in 2001 and arrived at his first duty station at Whiteman AFB, Mo., in November 2001.
Chief Powell said he was extremely proud that his son chose the Air Force as his first job.
"I knew he would be a great asset to the Air Force," Chief Powell said. "He excelled in Junior ROTC (Reserve Officers' Training Corps) in high school serving as their senior enlisted advisor, vice wing commander and wing commander. I thought joining the Air Force would be a great opportunity for him to get some experience in a job that he could take to the civilian work force if he decided not to make the military a career."