Powers retires after career that spanned the analog-to-digital migration

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  • 71st Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- A retirement ceremony celebrating Lt. Col. Nicholas Powers’ 23-year Air Force career was held Friday, July 15, in the Greven Crosswinds Club at Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma.

Powers served as the 33rd Flying Training Squadron commander and the 71st Operations Group deputy commander during his time at Vance.

He shared some thoughts and experiences about his active duty time in the Air Force.

Why did you join the Air Force?
“I joined because I needed a change and an opportunity to grow. I had a desire to serve and be a part of a team.”

What's your best memory of your first assignment?
“The people and leaders I worked with and for. My first assignment was with the 36th Intelligence Squadron at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia. I had a great group of individuals who encouraged me and gave me opportunities to grow as a person and Airman. They pushed me not to be discouraged and to re-apply for a commissioning program. I was fortunate to be selected my second time applying and it was due to their leadership and encouragement that I was successful.”

What are three reasons you would recommend the Air Force as a career?
“Growth, trust and impact. The Air Force is an organization that encourages growth and gives you an opportunity to become your best self. The Air Force places a large amount of trust in you; trust to accomplish the mission, and trust to lead and mentor other. The Air Force is a service that has a large impact in how our nation projects power, and we are trusted to effectively execute that mission.”

What advice would you give an airman or lieutenant just starting their Air Force career?
“Stay positive, set career goals and milestones. If you don’t make one, set a new one and give it your all. Support those around you because their success is your success. Leave every job better than you found it, and be the best at your job.”

What is the biggest change you've witnessed in the Air Force?
“The migration from analog to digital. I’m dating myself but when I joined we had to share computers to check our e-mail once a day. Leave was processed via paper. You went to the orderly room to sign for testing, process leave, pick up your leave and earning statement and to sign in and out of the squadron.”