Colonel Jack Henderson Powell, born June 21, 1933 experienced aviation at the age of 17 when a local friend of the family took him for a ride in a Pipper Cub in Gordy, Georgia. He was hooked and knew immediately that flying was his destiny. He is a native of Worth County, Georgia and resides in the area today.
He obtained degrees from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, the University of Omaha, Western New England University, and the United States Air Force Air War College. He holds a Master of Business Administration degree and bachelor’s degree in finance.
In 1953 he joined the Air Force to become a pilot and fight in the Korean War. After initial and advanced training, he earned the positions of aircraft commander of the KC-97, B-47, KC-135, B-52, T-39, and F-105. He also served as Chief of Stan-board for the 8th Air Force. He served as the Senior Emergency Actions Officer at the National Military Command Center in the Pentagon and ending his Air Force career as the Deputy Commander of Operations of the 19th Bomb Wing at Robins Air Force Base. He was also nominated for Commander of the 89th Wing at Andrew’s Air Force Base for Air Force One but elected to return to Southwest Georgia to serve his home area. During his Air Force career, he was an integral player in the Arc Light bombing campaign in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War flying more than 300 missions in the B-52. He retired at the rank of Full Colonel.
After returning to Albany, Georgia where he originally settled during the Cuban Missile Crisis at Turner Air Force Base, he was recruited to manage Gray Air Service, a small fixed base operation at the Albany, Georgia regional airport where he grew it tenfold. He added aircraft sales, training, leasing, charter, and pilot labor services. He attracted and secured a regional United Parcel facility at the airport creating dozens of new jobs and careers. More than twenty young pilots were groomed by him to advance from hopefuls to major airline captains and military officers.
He served on the initial Board of Directors of the Museum of Aviation and assisted in getting it off the ground. He served on the Georgia Aviation Trade Association and was President of the Southwest Georgia Regional Development Center.