James Morrison Powell, #684, 1966 – 1995
Jim Powell was a member of Washington Wing’s Green River Composite Squadron and had been reassigned to Group II headquarters just before his death. A transport mission pilot and survival instructor, Jim was training towards his SAR/DR mission pilot certification. During a proficiency flight from Auburn, WA to Yakima, WA, the CAP Cessna 182Q he was flying suffered an engine failure. Despite making a successful emergency landing near Nelson Butte in the Cascades, Jim found himself ill-equiped to face the sub-freezing temperatures, having left his survival kit in his car that fateful morning. Throughout the first day, Jim wrote notes documenting his plight, writing a final note to his family as darkness fell.
The search for Jim was a highly publicized political debacle wherein the state’s aviation division initially barred CAP participation. Ultimately, though, it was a CAP aircrew which located the crash site—but not before Jim succumbed to the bitter cold and died of hypothermia. He was 29. Jim is survived by his wife, Patti, and two children.
Lee Chase, #1079, writes:
“I met Captain James M. Powell at the Washington Wing First Cadet Training Group (CTG) Encampment in August of 1991. As the Commandant of Cadets, Jim led a dynamic Cadet Staff, which included me and several others who went on to earn the Spaatz Award. This encampment was controversial from the start, due to the “too hard” training approach employed. Having served on a California Wing CTG Encampment Staff, Jim understood and advocated the CTG concept. Our mission was to provide challenging and quality training for the basic, advanced, and staff Cadets.
“During the encampment, our methodology was scrutinized. As the days passed, those in tune came to understand. In the end, all witnessed some of the best trained and motivated Cadets we had/have ever seen! Throughout the week, Jim Powell demonstrated the moral courage to stand by his staff and our mission, regardless of those who were not in tune. This was the kind of man and leader that Jim Powell was–somebody who understood that the mission does indeed come first and that one must take care of his troops in order to successfully accomplish the mission that is set before him.
“Unfortunately, leaders like Jim Powell are few and far between. Whether in Civil Air Patrol, military, or civilian life, it is paramount to have the support of our leaders in order to successfully accomplish our missions and goals. Jim Powell was one of those leaders! As a loving husband and father, leader, and mentor, Jim Powell was a man who will always be respected and admired.”