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Retired Rear Admiral William E. Powell Jr., SC, USN
Retired Rear Admiral William E. Powell Jr., SC, USN, 82, passed away on February 3, 2019. Powell retired from the Navy after 30 years of active service, with his last assignment being commanding officer, Naval Supply Center, Norfolk, Virginia. He was the first African-American flag officer in the Supply Corps and only the eighth African-American to obtain the rank of flag officer in the U.S. Navy.
Born in Indianapolis on April 12, 1936, he was one of 13 African-American students selected to integrate the prestigious Shortridge High School in his hometown. After graduation, he enlisted in the Navy, completed basic training at Bainbridge, Maryland, entered the Naval Academy Preparatory School, and was appointed to the United States Naval Academy where received his bachelor’s degree and commission in 1959. Later, he received a master’s degree from George Washington University. He also attended the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. Duty assignments include: Director of Supply Corps Personnel, Washington, D.C.; Naval Supply Depot, Subic Bay, Philippines; Aviation Programs Division, Office of CNO, Washington, D.C.; NSC Oakland, California; Aviation Supply Office, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; USS Intrepid (CV-11); Commander Cruiser Destroyer Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet; and Naval Supply Systems Command, Washington, D.C.
After retiring from active duty, Rear Adm. Powell accepted a position at DuPont in Wilmington, Delaware, and subsequently worked for PECO Energy Company in Philadelphia. He is survived by his wife, two sons, two grandsons, a niece, and other family members. He was interred at the U.S. Naval Academy.