My Last Baggage Call Aboard Air Force One: A Journey of Sacrifice, Service, Family, and Friendship by Glenn W. Powell
Sergeant Glenn W. Powell’s MY LAST BAGGAGE CALL is the story of a most unlikely young man who leaves his working-class environment of Toledo, Ohio, to become a soldier. Seeking excitement and a way to “make something of himself,” Glenn Powell’s journey exceeds his wildest dreams—a journey that began in basic training in Fort Hood, Texas ends at 1600 Pennsylvania avenue—the most important address in the world.
MY LAST BAGGAGE CALL is about so much more than Glenn Powell’s military journey, but about poignant memories of family, friendships, sacrifices, and love—central to his story is Ronda Holloway, the beautiful young woman he falls in love with in Manheim, Germany, and, who joins him on his life journey as wife, soulmate and mother to their two sons.
MY LAST BAGGAGE CALL offers readers a glimpse into Sergeant Glenn Powell’s 30-year transformation from the much-beloved boy who seeks more in life…to the man, who discovers it—in adventure, in friendships, and in service to three American presidents. a service he delivered with pride, unquestioned loyalty, distinction and in the end, great admiration.
Purchase My Last Baggage Call Aboard Air Force One: A Journey of Sacrifice, Service, Family, and Friendship by Glenn W. Powell
Black Pearls Magazine Conversation with Sergeant First Class (SFC) Glenn W. Powell
Sergeant First Class Glenn W. Powell (Retired), is a native of Toledo, Ohio. He enlisted into the United States Army in 1982, and retired in 2002. During his military career, he served as a heavy vehicle driver, a squad leader, and non-commissioned officer.
In September, 1991, SFC Powell joined the George HW Bush White House as a chauffeur, and in 1992, was promoted to transportation coordinator for the white house Press Corps, serving in the Clinton Administration. In December 1995, he assumed the duties of transportation supervisor for Air Force One. In January, 2001, during his service under President George W. Bush, SFC Powell was transferred to the White House Military Office, Customer Support and Organizational Development where he served as deputy director.
SFC Powell retired with distinction from the Military in 2014. He received numerous awards and decorations throughout his service, including the Meritorious Service Medal, the Joint Service Achievement Medal, and the United States Army Achievement Medal with four oak leaf clusters. He received U.S. Service Ribbons for both domestic and overseas service. Glenn and Ronda Holloway Powell have been married for 25 years, and have three sons, Darius, Warren, and Glenn, II. They reside in Virginia.
BPM: How does a man go from basic training in Fort Dix, New Jersey to a prestigious career at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue as a Deputy Director in the White House Military Office?
ANSWER: The journey wasn’t easy but it all boiled down to hard work, dedication, and individuals seeing your potential for success.
BPM: Entering the military at an early age can be challenging for some young people. What was your experience like and looking back would you do this all over again?
ANSWER: At first that experience was very hard. It was my first time being away from home and being in an environment that I couldn’t control. It forced me to grow up quickly and provided the additional resources and discipline that I needed to become a man. Without question, I would do it all over again.
BPM: Tell us about your new book, MY LAST BAGGAGE CALL ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE: A Journey of Sacrifice, Service, Family, and Friendship.
ANSWER: The book is about my personal journey from being a teenage father in Toledo, OH. Making the hard decision to leave my son in order to provide for him. Serving my country that I hold in high regards. Finding love and building a family. Constantly leaving my family to fulfill my military obligations while serving the Office of the President, and establishing lifelong friendships.
BPM: What was it like to be in service to three American presidents?
ANSWER: It was one of the greatest honors that an individual in the military can aspire to have. It isn’t the norm for a military person to be able to serve three Presidents, due to the fact that we relocate after four years on that assignment.
BPM: Being aboard Air Force One had to be amazing! What is one of the most beautiful places you visited?
ANSWER: The first place was South Africa, where I was afforded the opportunity to go on safari, but more importantly to tour Robin Island during President Clinton’s visit, and have the pleasure of meeting Nelson Mandela. The other place was China, and being able to walk the Great Wall of China, and standing in Tiananmen Square.
BPM: What was your most interesting chapter to write in your book MY LAST BAGGAGE CALL?
ANSWER: For me, the most interesting chapter to write was Chapter 15, Second Chances. Writing this chapter allowed me to be vulnerable with how I felt during 911 and multiple health issues that I had faced.
BPM: Were there ever times you wished you could share your story with the world before writing the book?
ANSWER: Yes, there were, but because I’m such a private person and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to share my story.
BPM: What made you want to become a writer? How long have you been writing?
ANSWER: I have been writing my story my whole life. Keeping notes in my head internally. I just never knew that I was a writer. It wasn’t until my cancer diagnosis, that I decided it was time to put the thoughts and feelings to paper.
BPM: How has writing MY LAST BAGGAGE CALL impacted your life?
ANSWER: It has allowed me to be more open with regards to my personal life. It has allowed me to share the upbringing that has made me what I am today.
BPM: What advice or bit of wisdom would you share with the young man leaving home for the first time seeking adventure?
ANSWER: I would say, try not to be afraid but open for opportunities that came your way. Your destiny has been pre-determined, so follow your heart.
BPM: Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?
ANSWER: I would view writing as an outlet, as everyone has many views on spiritual practice and I don’t want to offend anyone with my views.
BPM: What was one of the most surprising things you learned from this project?
ANSWER: The one thing that was most surprising, was finding out my family history. Everyone isn’t always able to trace their family origins.
BPM: Share one specific point in your past that is resonating with your present situation or journey.
ANSWER: To always treat others the way that you want to be treated.
BPM: Does writing energize or exhaust you?
ANSWER: It is both energizing and exhausting. It energizes me by allowing my creative juices to flow. It is exhausting because you really don’t know just how much work goes into bringing a project to life.
BPM: What are the top three things that make you feel happy and fulfilled at this point in life?
ANSWER: God allowing me to still be on this life journey. The love and support of my family and friends. Peace of mind and spirit.
BPM: What makes you forget about the world around you?
ANSWER: I’m really never able to forget the world around me, although going on vacation allows me to recharge my batteries.
BPM: What strengths did you use to achieve two major goals in life?
ANSWER: The wisdom of selfless service from my parents, and the courage to work hard to achieve my goals from my military mentors.
BPM: What other projects are you working on at the present?
ANSWER: The next project that I’m working on is gathering more historical information about my family roots in Rison, AR.
BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work? Is the book available on Nook and Kindle?
ANSWER: My book is available on Amazon for both Nook and Kindle. My website is under development.
BPM: Are you on social media? We would like to stay in contact with you! Share all of your social media links.
ANSWER: Yes, I’m on Facebook and messenger @Glenn W. Powell (Author), Twitter @glennwpowell1, and Instagram @glennwpowell
Purchase My Last Baggage Call Aboard Air Force One: A Journey of Sacrifice, Service, Family, and Friendship by Glenn W. Powell
Former Aide to Three U.S. Presidents Pens Life Story of a Path Least Traveled
Writing our World Publishing proudly announces the winter 2017 publication of My Last Baggage Call Aboard Air Force One, by Sergeant First Class (SFC) Glenn W. Powell, as told to Presidential biographer Janis F. Kearney. This new memoir chronicles the life and memories of SFC Glenn Powell, a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Army, and 10-year veteran of the White House where he served under Presidents George HW Bush, President William J. Clinton, and President George W. Bush.
SFC Powell was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio. He says his real-life journey began in 1982 when he bypassed his high school graduation to join the U.S. Army. That journey would take him from Fort Dix, New Jersey, to Manheim, Germany where he met Ronda Holloway, a young, beautiful soldier, and fellow Ohioan, who has been his wife and soul mate for 25 years. Powell’s poignant and inspiring story includes both, his own memories, and memories from some 50 white house colleagues, family members and lifelong military buddies who enriched his life and made an indelible impact on his journey. SFC Powell’s story is that of a restless young man who grew up in a working-class environment with ample opportunities to journey down the wrong path. Yet, thanks to his childhood village –the many role models whose lives exemplified the best in American values—made all the difference in his journey.
Except for that “village,” of his childhood, Glenn believes his story might have had a different ending. The hardworking citizens living purpose-filled lives served as a buffer against the discontent and civil unrest plaguing the rest of world. The centerpiece of that village, Glenn says, was his parents who, while they never lived under one roof, both loved him unconditionally.
Margaret Powell was a young single working mother and a constant reminder of the importance of working toward excellence in one’s chosen career. She would become Kroger Stores’ first African American manager. His father, a prominent entrepreneur in the Toledo area, would remain a constant in Glenn’s life until the end.
Glenn says these lessons sustained him throughout his journey – from the pampered child to the responsible teen, to the ambitious young soldier, to the doting husband and father; and the loyal and “never say never” Sergeant and aide to the President of the United States of America. “My Last Baggage Call Aboard AF1” chronicles a most amazing journey that magically transformed Glenn Powell’s life, and so richly impacted those who knew him.
EXCERPTS from My Last Baggage Call Aboard Air Force One
A Soldier’s Story
Shortly after I turned 18, I enlisted in the army. Around that time, I learned that the young woman I’d been dating was pregnant, so going into the army would be an opportunity to provide for my child. The army sent me to Fort Dix in New Jersey for boot camp training on April 22, 1982. It was the perfect enlistment site for me.
Because of the popular television show, Dallas, I had in mind that I wanted to go to Fort Hood, Texas and meet JR Ewing. Not only did I meet Larry Hagman, the actor who played JR, but I also met the entire cast at one of the big Dallas malls. That was in the 80s when the networks spent money to have cast members show up to greet their fans, and when fans could easily get a photo with the stars. Meeting JR had been on my mental bucket list. Later I learned that “Klinger” from Mash and Danny Thomas were both from Toledo, and so I added them to the list.
In 1983, I re-enlisted and chose Hawaii as my next army stint. There for 18 months, I’m convinced that the Hawaii move helped me look long and hard at myself and my future. In Hawaii, I decided I needed to better myself. I enrolled at the Wahiawa Community School for Adults and got my high school diploma. My mother was so disappointed when I didn’t graduate from high school, so I did it as much for her as for myself.
My long transportation management career began in Wahiawa. I was one of a large number of applicants who applied for a temporary mission of driving for the Sergeant Major for the division. He was the senior enlisted man at the post. I beat out the other candidates for that position. Later, I drove for the one-star general at the post. After that, I returned to my unit and worked as the battalion mail clerk until he left in 1985. While there, I met friends and mentors who would help me decide on my career journey. That same year, I was asked to re-enlist, and First Sergeant Herbert Harris became a lifelong mentor and friend. Sergeant Harris recommended that I choose Fort Eustis in Newport News, Virginia for my re-enlistment. I remained at Fort Eustis from April 1985 until January 1988.
I became a squad leader, and for the next six months, I managed a squad of truck drivers in and around the base. After that, I was set on transportation becoming my specialty, but my career trajectory changed some when I was appointed to head up NCO Training, where I was responsible for the training of 270 soldiers.
Around this time, I met First Sergeant Fletcher Walker. He was sent in to straighten out our company, and he did just that. He would stand up at the top of the stairs with his hat covering his eyes, but looking down at us. Sergeant Walker was a ‘soldier among soldiers,’ an airborne paratrooper, a Vietnam Veteran who had been shot three times. There was no one more surprised when he chose me to run the training. I knew he had high expectations, and I was determined not to disappoint him. He was the kind of leaders for whom soldiers would fight and die. He was a true hero who taught me how to be a soldier and a man. He shared a lot about life with me. I imitated him in many ways so much that everyone would call me “Baby Walker.” I met his family and it was an honor. He retired as a Command Sergeant Major.
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© 2017 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Glenn W. Powell. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.
A Decade of Service
My colleagues and I were emotional to say the least as the Clinton Administration came closer to its final days. The Clinton Administration established a culture unlike any previous President. Within that culture, everyone mattered and we felt that we mattered. We had grown accustomed to serving our country and feeling valued for that service. Staff members had become like family in many instances. It was not just direct co-workers that became like family but it was staff at every level from lower to senior aides. We had dined together in restaurants and eating joints around the nation and global. Moreover, we had placed our feet in each other’s homes and dined at each other’s tables. We had formed genuine bonds, and it was hard to let all of that go.
As George Bush II arrived to the White House with his staff, I had mixed emotions about what was ahead. If the new President was anything like his father, he was going to be a super nice man. I wasn’t so sure about the players who would surround him and work in the Administration. As expected, when the Clinton Administration was finally out and the Bush Administration was in, the culture of the White House shifted drastically. They had new ideas about the roles civilians, military, and political staff would play. Military staff was always ready for change. Change was our occupational norm.
While I would no longer serve on Air Force One, I was proud to continue to play a role in the Bush Administration. Maybe more than ever before in modern times, the steadiness of military staff would become evident, as the tragedy of September 11, 2001 was near. It stands out foremost in my mind concerning the time I served in the Bush II White House.
( Continued… )
© 2017 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Glenn W. Powell. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. For More Information, or to contact Glenn Powell regarding availability for speaking opportunities, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org