Oral memoirs of James L. Powell: An interview conducted on June 22, 2021
In this interview, James L. (“Jimmie”) Powell relates his experiences as a serviceman during the Korean War. In 1930, he was born in San Angelo, TX into a ranching family. As an 11 year-old, he recalls older family members and ranch hands, who were drafted and served in World War II, meaning that he had to pitch in more on the ranch working with livestock, and his father had to hire high school students to meet labor needs. When Powell later attended Rice University, he joined the naval ROTC program. He continued to study business at the University of Texas. Following his graduation, he was inducted into the U.S. Navy and trained in the atomic field. From 1952 to 1955, he served on the aircraft carrier USS Oriskany as a signalman. He was impressed with the intelligence of his fellow service members and recalls details of their efforts along the Korean peninsula. He also fondly recalls the time off from the grueling schedule of life at sea when he was able to return to Japan for R&R and golf. This interview is also exceptional for Powell’s reflections on West Texas and his comparison of the United States and its people during the Greatest Generation with America today.
contained in: George Ricks Memorial World War II Oral History Archive