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Former Secretary of State, Colin Powell, has passed away at the age of 84. According to his family, he died from COVId-19 complications on Oct. 18, 2021. During George W. Bush’s presidency, he served as the Secretary of State. Powell also led the first Gulf War as chairman of the Joint Chiefs. He was the first Black person to hold both prestigious positions.
He was born on April 5, 1937, in New York, New York. Powell’s parents immigrated to the United States from Jamaica. He grew up in the Harlem and South Bronx Burroughs of New York City.
Powell graduated from the City College of New York with a bachelor’s degree in science. The former Secretary of State entered the Army after he graduated from Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC). He served in the Vietnam war from 1962 to 1963 and again from 1968 to 1969.
He took his first political position as a White House fellow in 1972. Shortly afterward he became an assistant to Frank Carlucci, who was the deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget. Then over the next couple of years, he held various positions in the Pentagon and other places.
In 1983, Powell became the senior military assistant to Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger. Four years later he joined the staff of the National Security Council. Here he was the deputy to Carlucci. Then he became assistant to the president for national security affairs.
In late 1987, President Ronald Reagan appointed him to succeed Carlucci. In 1989, Powell took over the Army Forces Command. In April of that year, he became a four-star general.
He first came into the public consciousness when he advocated for overwhelming military force against Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi army during the first Gulf War. Powell — like many others — was not impressed when Hussein’s army invaded Kuwait. His approach to the conflict became known as the “Powell doctrine.”
He is survived by his family and close friends.
Written by Sheena Robertson
NPR: Colin Powell, a former secretary of state, dies at 84;
Britannica: Colin Powell United States general and statesman
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