Powell, the first black secretary of state, dies of COVID complications at age 84


Colin Powell, the first African American to serve as US Secretary of State who was also a four-star general in the US Army and also the first African American chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, died Monday of the aftermath of COVID-19, reported CNN. He was 84.
A native of the Bronx, NY, rose in the ranks of the American military to shape US foreign policy during the 1980s and 1990s, and served under several presidents, including Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and both George HW Bush and George W. Bush, as well as leading Operation Desert Storm during the Persian Gulf War in 1991.
In a post on his Facebook page, Powell’s family announced that he was fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. CNN reported that he had suffered from multiple myeloma, a blood cancer that weakens the body’s ability to fight off infection.
“We would like to thank the medical staff at Walter Reed National Medical Center for their caring treatment. We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American, ”the family statement read.
VIDEO: Colin Powell – Portrait of a Leader
defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was one of the first Monday mornings to express grief over the loss of his longtime friend and mentor.

Humble beginnings

Colin Luther Powell was born to Jamaican immigrants on April 5, 1937, and grew up in a working-class neighborhood in the South Bronx. He attended City College of New York, where he majored in geology. However, his military career began when he moved to the ROTC and received an Army Commission as a lieutenant after graduating in 1958.

Years later he served twice in Vietnam, first as an advisor to the South Vietnamese Army in 1962 when he was wounded. In 1968 he returned as deputy chief of staff of the 23rd Infantry Division. On this tour he survived a helicopter crash and is said to have saved three comrades. After returning from Vietnam, he received his MBA from Georgetown University.

Powell, who became a four-star general, became National Security Advisor to President Reagan while serving as Lieutenant General in the United States Army and serving on the National Security Council. But his star continued to rise, which resulted in President George HW Bush electing him as the first African American Chairman of the United Chiefs of Staff.

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However, Powell is best known for his role in decision-making during the military operation in the Persian Gulf when he was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and US forces invaded Kuwait to defeat Iraqi dictator Sadaam Hussein. Bush and then-Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney ordered Powell and Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf to launch Operation Desert Storm and build a coalition with Britain, France, Italy, Syria and Italy to liberate Kuwait.
Looking back on that operation, Powell recalled the effort that had to be made in an interview with the military officers association MOAA.org website

“In the first few days after Iraq invaded Kuwait, we had to understand what we had to do. It was reported that we had debates within the administration, ”he said. “It’s not unreasonable. My position was: Mr. President, tell us what you are willing to do and we will show you how we will do it. ”

However, Powell is also known for his role in the decision to win a war in Iraq and Afghanistan in the 2000 elections in the weeks following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, again becoming the first African American to stand for that post was selected and unanimously approved by the Senate.

After the attacks, the nation found itself in crisis and many in Congress called for action in response. Sentiment grew within the Bush administration to remove Saddam Hussein from power. Powell warned the president that creating a democratic nation would be difficult, but he went to the United Nations in 2003 and advocated a new invasion of Iraq to search for “weapons of mass destruction.” Inspectors never found such weapons, but Congress approved the use of military force in both Iraq and Afghanistan as of 2003, eventually leading to America’s longest war, which only ended that year.

Powell later expressed regret for his part in what was seen as a ruthless onslaught into a costly war for America. In his memoir It worked for me, lessons in life and leadership said he failed to realize at the time that much of the evidence for the alleged weapons was false.

“I’m mostly angry at myself for not smelling the problem,” Powell wrote. “My instincts have failed me.”

According to the period of use

After leaving the cabinet, Powell devoted much of his energy to the spokespersons and leadership foundations of which he was a part. He and his wife, Alma founded America’s Promise, dedicated to helping and encouraging youth from all walks of life. But his name had been known as a possible presidential candidate since at least the 1990s.
He supported the campaign from It is. John McCain 2008 and was even mentioned as a potential runner-up. However, later that year Powell supported what was then Illinois Senator Barack Obama during an interview on NBC News’ Meet the press.

Despite serving in Republican governments and calling himself a “moderate” GOP member, he was very critical of President Donald Trump, saying the party had to “get a grip” and confront the former president. “Right now, Republican leaders and members of Congress – both the Senate and the House of Representatives – are holding back because they fear what will happen to each of them if they speak up,” he said in an interview with CNN.

Powell is survived by his wife Alma; His son Michael who was Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission from 2001 to 2005; and two daughters, Linda and Annemarie.

He has been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Gold Medal, the Presidential Citizens Medal and the Secretary of State Distinguished Service Medal twice.