Colin Luther Powell, KCB (Honorary), MSC, (April 5, 1937 – October 18, 2021) was an American General in the United States Army and politician. He was the 65th United States Secretary of State (2001-2005), serving under President George W. Bush. He was the first African American appointed to that position. As a General in the United States Army, Powell also served as National Security Advisor (1987–1989) and as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1989–1993), holding the latter position during the Gulf War. He was the first and, so far, the only African American to serve on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Early life[change | change source]
He was born Colin Luther Powell on April 5, 1937, in Harlem, New York City, New York. His father, Luther Powell, was a shipping clerk. His mother, Maud Powell, was a seamstress. Both had immigrated to the United States from Jamaica. He grew up in south Bronx. He joined the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) while he was a student at City College of New York. He commanded his unit's precision drill team and achieved the highest rank in ROTC, cadet colonel. When he graduated in 1958, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Army.
Army career[change | change source]
His first assignment was in West Germany. He was promoted to the rank of Captain on June 1, 1962. Powell then served two tours of duty during the Vietnam War. He was wounded twice while in Vietnam. Once by a Viet Cong booby trap. He received a Purple Heart. A year later he received a Bronze Star Medal. He was wounded a second time in a helicopter crash where he saved two other soldiers. For this action he was awarded the Soldier's Medal. Between his two tours in Vietnam, Powell was promoted to the rank of major in May 1966.
Powell then earned an MBA degree at George Washington University in Washington, DC. He received a White House fellowship and worked in the Office of Management and Budget during 1972–1973. As a lieutenant colonel Powell served as a battalion commander in the 2d Infantry Division. In 1975 Powell was promoted to full colonel and became a brigade commander in the 101st Airborne Division. He was promoted to the rank of general in 1989. He was appointed to the position of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff by President George H. W. Bush. He oversaw a number of crisis situations including Operation Desert Storm. In 1993 he retired from the military as a four-star general.
United States Secretary of State[change | change source]
In 2001 he was nominated and confirmed as US Secretary of State. After the September 11 attacks he took a leading role in aligning allies for military action in Afghanistan. Powell dealt with a number of international crises including a near war between India and Pakistan (both of which had nuclear weapons) in 2001–2002. In February 2003 he appeared before the United Nations Security Council. He presented evidence that Iraq was hiding weapons of mass destruction (WMD). This convinced many in the US that Iraq was a threat. In September 2004 he appeared before the United States Congress to testify that the intelligence used to show Iraq had WMDs was wrong. Then, on November 15, 2004, Powell announced his resignation.
Later life[change | change source]
In 2016, while not a candidate for that year's election, he received three electoral votes from Washington for President of the United States. After Barack Obama, Powell was only the second Black person to receive electoral votes in a presidential election.
Powell was a critic of the Donald Trump administration, believing he was not qualified to be president. He supported former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for president in 2016. On June 7, 2020, Powell announced he would be voting for former Vice President Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. In August, Powell delivered a speech in support of Biden's candidacy at the 2020 Democratic National Convention.
Death[change | change source]
On October 18, 2021, Powell, who was hospitalized at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland for multiple myeloma-related treatment, died from problems caused by COVID-19 on October 18, 2021 at the age of 84. He was fully vaccinated; however his cancer made his immune system weak. He also had Parkinson's disease when he died.
Other achievements[change | change source]
- 1993 he was the founder of America's Promise. This is a charitable organization that helps at-risk children.
- 1993 was awarded an honorary Knight Commander (KCB) of the Most Honorable Order of the Bath by Queen Elizabeth II.
- 1995, Powell published his memoir, "My American Journey".
- 1997 he started America's Promise Alliance to help children and youths.
- 2012 he published his second memoir "It Worked For Me: In Life and Leadership".
References[change | change source]
- "Colin Powell Biography". Bio/A&E Television Networks, LLC. Retrieved December 21, 2015.
- The first African American secretary of state, Colin Powell Archived 2008-06-04 at the Wayback Machine, The AfroAmerican Registry
- Biographies - Colin Powell: United States Secretary of State, African American History Month, US Department of Defense
- Colin Powell, Britannica Online Encyclopedia
- Profile: Colin Powell, BBC News
- "Colin Powell Fast Facts". CNN. March 15, 2015. Retrieved December 21, 2015.
- "Biographies of the Secretaries of State: Colin L. Powell". Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs, United States Department of State. Retrieved December 21, 2015.
- "Colin Powell Biography". American Academy of Achievement. Retrieved December 21, 2015.
- "Colin Powell Biography". Encyclopedia of World Biography. Retrieved December 21, 2015.
- LTC Greg Johansen, U.S. Army, 'Strategic Leadership Assessment of Colin L. Powell', U.S. Army War College (April 7, 2003), pp. 4–8
- "Colin Powell endorses Barack Obama for president". CBS News. October 25, 2012. Archived from the original on October 27, 2012. Retrieved August 18, 2020.
- Richardson, Valerie (December 21, 2016). "Colin Powell places third in presidential race at Electoral College". Washington Times.
- "Electoral College Results". National Archives. November 12, 2019. Retrieved October 18, 2021.
- Blake, Aaron (November 7, 2016). "78 Republican politicians, donors and officials who are supporting Hillary Clinton". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 25, 2021.
- Cole, Devan (June 7, 2020). "Colin Powell says he will vote for Joe Biden for president". CNN. Retrieved June 7, 2020.
- Sullivan, Kate (August 19, 2020). "Colin Powell touts Biden's character at DNC: 'We need to restore those values to the White House'". CNN. Retrieved January 12, 2021.
- Pitofsky, Marina (January 10, 2021). "Colin Powell: 'I can no longer call myself a fellow Republican'". The Hill. Retrieved January 10, 2021.
- Macias, Amanda (October 18, 2021). "Colin Powell, former secretary of State who made case for Iraq invasion, dies of Covid complications at 84". CNBC. Retrieved October 18, 2021.
- "Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell Dies From COVID-19 - October 18, 2021". Daily News Brief. October 18, 2021. Retrieved October 18, 2021.
- Devan Cole. "Colin Powell, military leader and first Black US secretary of state, dies". CNN. Retrieved October 18, 2021.
- Schmitt, Eric (October 18, 2021). "Colin Powell, Who Shaped U.S. National Security, Dies at 84". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 18, 2021.
- Jamie Gangel: Powell had Parkinson's in addition to cancer, his longtime chief of staff says. In: CNN.com, 18. Oktober 2021, abgerufen am 20. Oktober 2021 (englisch).