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Silver Taps Notification

Marc Powe '61 August 4, 2020 4:33 PM updated: August 5, 2020 10:36 AM

Marc Bracken Powe
December 15, 1939 – Aug 2, 2020 (Age 80)

Marc Powe, formerly of Wichita Falls, Texas, passed away on August 2, 2020. His death followed a prolonged illness (not COVID-19.)

Marc graduated from Texas A&M College in 1961 with a bachelor’s degree in History. He served in the U.S. Army, for nearly 30 years, as a Military Intelligence officer including two tours in Vietnam, with early assignments in Germany, then assignments as a military attaché stationed in our embassies in Moscow, Baghdad (before the Gulf Wars), and Tunisia.

In 1977 he was awarded the Soldiers Medal, the Army’s highest award for courage in a non-combat situation, for his actions during a major fire at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. When the fire overwhelmed the U.S. Marine detachment, so the Moscow Fire Department and other Russians came into the embassy. Describing his actions, the U.S. ambassador wrote that he “distinguished himself by heroism involving personal danger and voluntary risk of life…During a multi-million dollar fire that enveloped the upper floors of the embassy, Major Powe directed efforts of ensuring the security and protection against compromise of extremely sensitive classified areas. With fire above and below, in a smoke-filled, darkened-area in which temperature at times reached 180 degrees Fahrenheit, Major Powe, for over three hours, with complete disregard for his own safety successfully prohibited the access of foreign personnel into the classified areas of the upper floors of the Embassy”.

In 1988 he was a key participant in the U.S.’s acquisition of a much sought-after intact, airworthy Russian Hind-25 attack helicopter that had been captured by Chad from attacking Libyan forces sent by Moammar Gadhafi. He negotiated with the Chadians for the purchase of the helicopter and was on the ground for its clandestine extraction and transport to the United States by US Army and US Air Force forces using CH-47 helicopters and a C-5 transport.

Marc retired in 1992 with the rank of Colonel. After his retirement from the Army, Marc worked at UNICEF in New York City setting up their first true operations center. Next he asked to serve as a senior civilian in the Office of Secretary of Defense for African Affairs, where he was on 9/11 when the airliner hit the Pentagon.

Marc and his wife, Karen, moved to Waxahachie, Texas in 2014 to be close to their two daughters and three grandchildren.

Marc’s was a lifetime of service, trying to make the world a safer and better place.

Marc is preceded in death by his wife of 56 years, Karen. He is survived by his two daughters, Michelle (’86) and Alexandra (’91), brothers Chris and Stephen (’71), and sister Diana and three grandchildren, including Kerri Allred-Beckwith (’15).

Marc will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery when the COVID crisis has passed and a fitting ceremony can be held.

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