Cannon chiefs retire in dual ceremony

By Airman 1st Class Jette Carr: 27th SOW Public Affairs

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE — Chief Master Sgts. Jackie and Stephanie Powell retired in a dual ceremony on June 30 at Cannon Air Force Base. After being married for more than 24 years, nearly as long as they have both been in the Air Force, the Powells said that it was hard to separate their careers. This is part of the reason they decided to share a retirement ceremony.

Chief master sergeants hold the highest enlisted rank in the U.S. Air Force, with the exception of chief master sergeant of the Air Force. Merely 1 percent of the enlisted force makes it to this prestigious rank, said Col. Timothy Leahy, former commander of the 27th Special Operations Wing, who led the ceremony. This, in particular, made the retirement ceremony special because it celebrated not only one chief, but two.

Jackie Powell said that he was consistently promoted because of his work ethic. “There’s no checklist of things to do in order to make chief. Just do your job to the best of your abilities. If it’s in the cards, if you are chief caliber, you’ll get there.”

This 27-year veteran joined the U.S. Air Force on May 21, 1984. Over the years, he has directly supported Operations Just Cause, Desert Shield, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, the Global War on Terrorism, and the Cold War. He has earned many awards and decorations along the way, such as the Meritorious Service Medal with five oak leaf clusters, the Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters and the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal.

While at Cannon, he served as the superintendent of the 27th Special Operations Maintenance Group. He managed four squadrons responsible for the maintenance of several aircraft here.

Stephanie Powell joined the U.S. Air Force July 9, 1987, and has supported Operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, New Dawn, the Global War on Terror, the Cold War, Just Cause, Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Provide Comfort, and Provide Hope. She has been awarded many decorations such as the Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters, the Joint Service Commendation Medal and the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal with one bronze star device.

While stationed here, she served as the 27th Special Operations Medical Group superintendent. She said Cannon has been one of her favorite duty stations because its mission has a significant global impact.

The Powells will be moving to Georgia to be closer to family, where Stephanie Powell will continue to work within the military by teaching Junior ROTC.

Master Sgt. Robert Tibi, 27 SOMDG first sergeant, had the unique experience of working with both Powells. For two years he served under Jackie Powell as the 27th Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron first sergeant, and he later worked with Stephanie Powell at the 27 SOMDG.

“Chiefs Jackie and Stephanie Powell represent a combined 53 years of leadership and experience. They made many great contributions during their careers and will be missed,” said Tibi.