FORT BENNING, Ga. – Fort Benning sniper community honored one of their own during a memorialization dedication ceremony for retired U.S. Army Maj. Willis L. Powell to honor his life and legacy. The U. S. Army Sniper Compound was formally memorialized as Camp Powell, on April 2.
During the ceremony, U.S. Army Lt. Col. Nathan B. Williams, commander, 1st Battalion, 29th Infantry Regiment, gave honors to the Powell family.
“Dedications efforts like today highlight the many important stories of our unit history and our mission to keep those stories alive by reconnecting our Soldiers and our students to their great history,” said Williams. “We dedicate our facilities to the determined efforts of those who of laid the foundations that have specialized in lethal capabilities that our Army has in its arsenal today.”
Powell was born in Wellston, Okla., on Aug. 10, 1930. He served two tours in South Vietnam as the commander of the Army Marksmanship Unit. He is known for developing and commanding the U.S. Army 9th Infantry Division Sniper School in South Vietnam and creating the sniper course at the U.S. Army Infantry School, Fort Benning.
The sniper course he established allowed for Soldiers to undergo training to develop the specialized skills necessary to operate as modern snipers, capable of precision fire from long distances and remained actively involved in the course until his death in May of 2016.
Over the course of his 24-year career Powell earned the Silver Star, Bronze Star, and the Army Commendation Medal. He also is a member of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit Hall of Fame. He is remembered for his dedicated service to his nation, the marksmanship and sniper communities, and the community at Columbus, Ga.