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Press Release
November 03, 2008
Oregon guardsmen bid farewell to longtime bandmaster
SALEM, Ore - The Oregon National Guard's longest running Bandmaster for the 234th Army Band retired after 39 years of military service. Chief Warrant Officer 5 James Powell led the 234th Army Band for more than two decades. About 100 of Powell's co-workers and friends attended a formal retirement ceremony at Anderson Readiness Center on Nov. 3.

"I want to thank all of my fellow soldiers and particularly Maj. Gen. Raymond Rees who as the Adjutant General of the Oregon National Guard held me responsible for what I did and then allowed me to do it," said Powell.

Powell enlisted in the 234th Army Band on Nov. 17, 1968 as a French Horn Player. He was appointed First Sergeant in 1980, a title he held until his direct appointment as warrant officer in 1983. Powell took over as Bandmaster for the 234th Army Band, leading the band until his retirement.

"I want to thank you on behalf of the entire Oregon National Guard and everything you have done for us," said Maj. Gen. Raymond Rees. "The band has thrived under your leadership," he added.

Powell saw the band through many changes during his time as commander.

In 1990, Powell deployed with the 234th Army Band overseas for the first time, retracing the steps the 41st Infantry Division took as it deployed to the South Pacific during World War II.

Since that deployment, the band has served many other states, foreign countries, and all branches of the military.

"I had the best job in the Army, throughout my entire career I've been so blessed to work with the people I have," said Powell. "I'm a lucky guy."

Powell received numerous awards throughout his long career with the Oregon National Guard including the Legion of Merit Award, the Oregon Distinguished Service Award, the Meritorious Service Medal, and the National Guard Bureau Minuteman Award.

Powell resides in Oregon City. He has two grown daughters.


081103-F-1639C-021.JPG -- Maj. Gen. Raymond F. Rees, The Adjutant General, Oregon National Guard, places an Oregon Distinguished Service Medal around the neck of Chief Warrant Officer 5 James Powell at his retirement ceremony Nov. 3, at the Anderson Readiness Center, Salem, Ore. Chief Powell recieved the award in recognition of his 39 years of military service.(U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nick Choy, Oregon Military Department Public Affairs Office)
Contact Info:
Oregon Military Department Public Affairs - (503)584-3917