From Staff Reports
Daily Times Leader
Many times on Veterans’ Day, there is no shortage of recognition for soldiers who fought in the two World Wars, Korea, Vietnam and even the first Gulf War.
For this Veterans’ Day, West Point has had the privilege to honor soldiers who have sacrificed over the last decade, even in the last year.
On Friday, West Point honored the men and women of the 223rd as Veterans of the Year.
On Monday, Colonel Ron Powell spoke to the veterans, students and faculty during Oak Hill Academy’s Veteran’s Day program, and Powell once again echoed the need to recognize the veterans who continue to make sacrifices for America’s freedom.
“Remember our current warriors who add to our such history every day,” Powell said during his address. “These citizen soldiers are not seeking personal gain or fame. They see something worthwhile, and they do something that makes this world a better place.”
Powell says that soldiers today have better technology and equipment than soldiers in the past had, but that does not sever the connection and the bond that all veterans have with one another.
“They never accept defeat, and they never leave a fallen comrade behind,” Powell said. “The uniform has changed but not the soldiers. All who have worn that uniform have an eternal thanks from the American people.”
Powell says that the greatest gift an average American can give to a veteran is to live their life enjoying America’s greatness, taking advantage of all our freedoms they fought for.
There are over 25 million veterans alive today, and the ones who were present at Oak Hill on Monday morning were honored by individual service branch, along with their families.
Colonel Powell has served with the Mississippi Army National Guard since 1984 and has a total of 26 years of military service. His military education has included the medical management of chemical casualties at Aberdeen proving ground, Maryland and the Armed Forces Combat Casualty Care Course at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. He is also certified as an instructor in Advanced Trauma Life Support and Advanced Cardiac Life Support. He completed the AMEDD officer basic course, AMEDD officer advanced course and he is a graduate of the Command and General Staff College. Colonel Powell served as the Battalion Surgeon with the 223rd Engineer Battalion, Combat Heavy from 1984 to 1998. He transferred to the STARC, MED, TDA in 1998 and served as a General Medical Officer from 1998 to 2000. He was appointed as Commander of DET 1, MSARNG, Medical Detachment in 2000 and served until May 2003 when he was appointed by the Adjutant General as the State Surgeon and Chief Medical Officer of the MSARNG. He was also appointed as the Commander of the MSARNG Medical Detachment. During his tenure the Medical Detachment was the recipient of the Excalibur Award for Medical TDA units. This was awarded by the Surgeon General of the Army and it was the first time this award has been won by any Mississippi National Guard medical unit. He has been overseas in Barbados with the 223rd for a humanitarian mission to help rebuild an orphanage. In 2005 he served as a medical officer with the 155th Brigade Combat Team in Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom and as a medical commander for Operation Vigilant Relief during Hurricane Katrina.
Colonel Powell has received the following decorations, awards and citations.
Combat Action Badge
Legion of Merit Medal
Meritorious Service Medal with bronze oak leaf cluster
Army Commendation Medal with two bronze oak leaf clusters
Army Achievement Medal
Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal with silver oak leaf cluster
National Defense Service Medal with two bronze service stars
Iraq Campaign Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Armed Forces Service Medal
Humanitarian Service Medal
Armed Forces Reserve Medal with Silver Hourglass and M Device
Army Service Ribbon
Army Reserve Components Overseas Training Ribbon
Mississippi Magnolia Cross Medal
Mississippi Commendation Medal
Mississippi War Medal
Mississippi Emergency Service Medal
Mississippi Service School Medal
Mississippi Longevity Medal with five oak leak clusters
Order of Military Medical Merit
Ghost Chaser 6 Award of Excellence with the 155th BCT
State Command Sergeant Majors Award
66th Troop Command Certificate of Achievement
155th Combat Patch
18th Airborne Corps Combat Patch