Retired Feb. 1, 1990.
Major General Cecil W. Powell is commander of the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center, Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M.
General Powell was born in 1935, in Port Arthur, Texas. He earned a bachelor of science degree in military science from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1959 and a master's degree from Auburn University in 1975. He completed the Air War College in 1975.
Upon graduation from the academy he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Air Force. General Powell completed pilot training at Spence Air Base, Ga., and Vance Air Force Base, Okla., and received his pilot wings in July 1960. He then received advanced fighter training in F-100s, and from June 1961 to January 1964 flew F-104s at George Air Force Base, Calif. He was subsequently assigned to the 80th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Yokota Air Base, Japan. During this assignment General Powell flew 104 combat missions over Southeast Asia in F-105s.
The general completed the Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., in 1968, and remained there as a test pilot involved in a variety of test programs, including the F-4E (slats), F-15 and National Aeronautics and Space Administration lifting bodies (space re-entry vehicle shapes).
In August 1973 General Powell became executive officer to the commander of 7th Air Force and the U.S. Support Activity at Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand. After graduating from the Air War College in July 1975, he transferred to Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., where he served initially as the ACEVAL-AIMVAL test planner, then as commander of the 422nd Fighter Weapons Squadron (operational test).
From August 1977 to January 1980 the general served as director of fighter and reconnaissance requirements at Headquarters Tactical Air Command, Langley Air Force Base, Va. He then became commander of the 363rd Tactical Fighter Wing at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C. From January 1982 to May 1983 General Powell served as assistant director for operational initiatives and joint matters in the Directorate of Operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
In June 1983 he transferred to Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe as inspector general and later served as assistant deputy chief of staff for operations. In June 1985 he became the first commander of the 316th Air Division and commander of the Kaiserslautern Military Community. The general was assigned as deputy commander for research, development and acquisition, Armament Division, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., in July 1986. He assumed his present duties in June 1987.
The general is a command pilot with more than 4,000 flying hours. His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Meritorious Service Medal and Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters.
He was promoted to major general Oct. 1, 1986, with same date of rank.