Joe Alfred Powell was born on 2 August 1940. Joe joined the US Army in 1961 as a second lieutenant in the Ordnance Corps. In 1967, Captain Joe Powell was serving in the US Army Support Command in Vietnam. On 19 September 1967, Captain Joe Powell, commanding officer of 42nd Ordnance Detactment (EOD), assisted in the search and recovery of explosive ordnance and explosive charges after an Air Force F-100 fighter palnce crashed at III Corps ARVN Compound, Bien Hoa. During this time, he was required to move though and work in areas in which ammunition was still exploding and burning. Informed that personnel were possibly trapped in a burning building, he entered the building in search of the personnel. Captain Joe Powell performedd this task in an outstanding and professional manner, at great risk to his own personal safety. For his bravery on this date, Captain Joe Powell was awarded the Army CommendationMedal with V Device for valor.
Major Joe Powell retired from the US Army in 1981 while serving at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, and remained in the Huntsville area.