Frank M. Powell, colonel U.S. Army (retired), teacher of math and history, commercial hot air balloon pilot, hot-rod enthusiast, husband, father, grandfather and Gruppa, aged 84, died suddenly on March 2, 2018.
Col. Powell was born on Nov. 3, 1933, in Loveland, Ohio, to Rev. Richard Thomas Powell and Nora (Hitesman) Powell. The second of four sons, Frank dreamed of working on cars and being a machinist.
Col. Powell completed 28 years, five months, of service to his country on June 30, 1983. He was drafted from Cincinnati, Ohio, in January 1955.
In less than one year, he achieved the rank of corporal and was promoted to sergeant E-5 upon entrance to Officer Candidate School. He was a senior Army aviator, field artillery; munitions material manager; operations and force development officer; and training officer and instructor.
He served in Germany and Korea, and had two tours in Vietnam. His schooling included basic and advanced field artillery, field artillery survey, fixed-wing and rotary aviation, aviation safety, Armed Forces Staff College and numerous weapons schools.
He served as the commander, Battery A, 1st Battalion, 42nd Field Artillery, in Korea; commander, 2nd Platoon, 92nd Aviation Company, in Vietnam; commander, Company A, 9th Aviation Battalion, 9th Division, Fort Riley, Kan.; commander, 335th Assault Helicopter Company, in Vietnam; and commander, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Combat Training Brigade, Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. Other assignments included duty as an Army inspector general; instructor at Ft. Sill, Ft. Rucker and at the Armed Forces Staff College; and a training AIDS service officer, along with numerous staff assignments.
He earned two awards of the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, 10 Air Medals, Presidential and Meritorious Unit Citations and Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry. He was made an honorary member of the Montagnards Rhade tribe, located at Camp Buôn Ea Yông, Republic of Viêtnam.
Upon retirement from the military in 1983, Col. Powell attended the University of New Mexico to receive endorsements in education. He taught history, computers and math for many years at McKinley Middle School in Albuquerque.
Frank was an avid hot air balloonist involved with and flying in many balloon rallies and the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta with his hot air balloon, Spinnaker.
In his later years, he renewed his love of hot-rod cars and spent many hours at his shop in Albuquerque working on his 1950 Ford and his 1934 Ford coupe.
He is survived by his wife, Shirley, of Rio Rancho; daughters Paula Powell and Rebecca Talbott; son-in-law Dale Talbott; grandchildren Daniel Talbott, Sarah Sheldon, Alice Sheldon (Ryan Compton) and David Talbott (Liz Olive); great-granddaughters Madeline Early and Natalie Talbott; and brother Paul Powell (Kay).
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to National Museum of the U.S. Army Fund, armyhistory.org, or Army Historical Foundation. P.O. Box 96281, Washington, D.C. 20090-6281.