Enshrined November 9, 2013
For 74 years, “Preacher” Brandon worked at Memphis International Airport (MEM) where he became the face of Memphis to the corporate world of aviation. Mr. Brandon’s charisma, his smiles and his brand of customer service made him an icon at MEM.
Milton L. Brandon was born February 24, 1921 in Oakland, Tennessee. He graduated from Geeter High School in Shelby County in 1941 where he had been a member of the basketball team. He was united in holy matrimony to Grace Y. Collins in 1963 and became an Ordained Minister in 1965, dedicating his life to his dear wife and the Lord.
“Preacher’s” first full-time job at Memphis Municipal Airport was in 1937 where he sold peanuts and popcorn. During WWII, at the old Clarksdale Airport, he taught airmen how to hand-prop the Stearman airplane engine and he worked at the National Guard PX.
Brandon worked for the FBO, Memphis Aero and its successors, the last being Signature Flight Support. He drove the Courtesy Van and met many famous people including Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Michael Jordan and, of course, Elvis. Every pilot that ever met “Preacher” Brandon never forgot him – his eternal optimism, his caring way and love of his Lord and of his fellow man were exemplified through his special gift for encouraging others with his homespun wit and wisdom.
The Memphis Area Aviation Community honored “Preacher” Brandon for his exemplary contributions to the Memphis area in 1998 by inducting him into the Memphis Aviation Legends Hall of Fame. He also received honors from The City of Memphis and the Memphis International Airport.
Enshrined November 9, 2013
Following his retirement from the Air Force, Lt. Col. Bill Powley began teaching Junior ROTC classes at Unicoi County High School, in Erwin, Tennessee. It was his vision that established the Flight Lesson Instructional Grants Helping Teens (F.L.I.G.H.T.) program which has allowed over six thousand students to take to the air on orientation flights; more than 110 solos; over 2,500 flight hours and more than 100 service projects while instilling professionalism, work ethic and discipline in his students. The F.L.I.G.H.T. program is now in place at Sullivan South High School where Col. Powley provides the foundation for flight instruction as well as pivotal scholarships for the students. His dedication to the students and program, and efforts as a teacher and mentor has launched the careers of countless students while making a lifelong impact on their lives. Through action and accountability, Col. Powley instills integrity into the students, embodied by his classroom motto “Deeds not Words.”
In 2010, Col. Powley was awarded the prestigious A. Scott Crossfield Aerospace Education Teacher of the Year Award, by the National Aviation Hall of Fame. That same year he was the first recipient of the Aviation Person of the Year award by the Tennessee Aviation Hall of Fame. In 2011 he was selected as the recipient of the Career Contributions to Aviation Award by the State of Tennessee Aeronautics Division.
Col. Powley is a graduate of the Air Force Academy and a Vietnam veteran fighter pilot with extensive experience in the F-4, A-7 and F-16 aircraft, totaling 347 combat missions.
Powley is active in the community as a member of the Kiwanis, Rotary, and Ruritan clubs and the USAF Academy Association of Graduates, Air Force Association, Daedalians, River Rats, and American Legion.
Enshrined November 9, 2013
Rear Admiral Jimmie Taylor of Nashville, Tennessee attended the University of Tennessee, Middle Tennessee State College and graduated from San Diego State University. He obtained his Private and Commercial Pilot License and Flight Instructor Certificate from MTSU flight school. He taught flying prior to entering Naval Flight training in February 1957 earning his Naval Aviator wings in September 1958.
RADM Taylor’s aviation career spanned more than three decades with the majority spent in the cockpits of F-8 and F-14 fighter aircraft aboard most of the Navy’s aircraft carriers. He completed five carrier combat cruises while accumulating some 200 combat missions. His career included numerous command and staff positions culminating with Chief of Naval Air Training (CNATRA), responsible for all flight training in the U.S. Navy, Marines and Coast Guard. This command position was also responsible for the U. S. Navy Blue Angels and provided the unique opportunity to fly with them.
His distinguished accomplishments include the First fleet F-14 demo pilot, including the 1973 LeBourqet Airshow in Paris, France. His performance in Paris resulted in a nomination for the Harmon Trophy, kudos on the editorial page of Aviation Week, and was the first recipient of Grumman’s “Topcat” award. He served as Commanding Officer of the first F-14 squadron to make a fleet deployment. While aboard the USS ENTERPRISE in 1975, he participated in the first F-14 combat sorties during Operation Frequent Wind, which concluded our presence in Vietnam with the evacuation of Saigon.
RADM Taylor’s specialty is aircrew training at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. He has served with the Operational Test and Evaluation Force, the Education and Training Command, and the Air Training Command. The last 10 years of his naval career were spent as: Chief of Naval Air Training; Vice Commander, Naval Education and Training Command; Head, Naval Aviation Plans and Programs at the Pentagon; Commander, Training Air Wing Two; and Chief of Staff, Fighter and Airborne Early Warning Wing, Pacific.
RADM Taylor retired from active duty in August 1991 after 34 years as a naval officer and accepted and served as the Vice President and Vice Chairman of Armed Services for the Pensacola Area Chamber of Commerce. Additionally, he was responsible for implementing the Armed Services Program of Action and interfacing with the Department of the Navy, Department of Defense and Congressional delegations.
He now resides in Smyrna, Tennessee with his wife, Annette. He continues flying, and is active in the community, serving on various boards and committees of the Smyrna Rotary Club, Meals on Wheels, Director for MTEMC’s customer care board and Habitat for Humanity.
Enshrined November 9, 2013
Montill Warren has devoted herself to promoting aviation in Tennessee for over 30 years, and has been deeply involved with the Civil Air Patrol since December 15, 1980, when she began to build up the program for cadets in the local Hardin County Composite Squadron. She worked tirelessly in the community to promote the program through recruiting and fund raising activities. Appointed to the position of Director of Cadet Programs for the State of Tennessee in 1995, she organized and participated in over 32 encampments, numerous cadet officer schools and drill team competitions, and managed the National Flight Academy for seven years. For eight years she hosted young cadets from foreign countries including Israel, United Kingdom, Australia and others through the International Air Cadet Exchange Program, promoting international understanding, goodwill, and fellowship among the aviation-minded youth of the world. Montill is a graduate of the Region Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base in 1982, the National Staff College in 1989, and the Mission Coordinator School also in 1989. She has received numerous Commander Accommodations Awards, Meritorious Volunteer Awards, and many certificates of achievement.
In 1989 Montill was appointed to the Savannah-Hardin County Airport Commission, and six months later was appointed Chairperson. On June 1, 1993, she became Manager of the Savannah-Hardin County Airport. Her hard work and dedication have brought many improvements to the airport, such as installation of the nation’s first concrete overlay runway to be designed for a general aviation airport, construction of several new hangars, procurement and installation of new fuel tanks, and upgrades to the airport runway lighting systems and security fencing. All of these accomplishments culminated in her being named Tennessee Airport Manager of the Year in 1997, and the recipient of the Tennessee Aeronautics Commission Award of Excellence for her outstanding contribution to aviation in Tennessee in August 2009.
Montill is widely known in the aviation community for her hospitality, friendly service, and helpful attitude towards all of her customers. She frequently offers her own personal vehicle when needed to help out a stranded aviator. Many visitors to the airport have written back to the airport to express appreciation for her caring help. Montill’s lifelong love of aviation has made profound, lasting impact to the Savannah/Hardin County community and the State of Tennessee.