Colin Powell pronounced dead at age 84

Head shot of Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Courtesy of the Department of State of the United States of America

Head shot of Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Former American statesman, diplomat, four-star general, and the first African-American secretary of state passed away on October 18, 2021. He was 84 and died at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. He served as the 16th United States national security advisor from 1987 to 1989 and as the 12th chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1989 to 1993. Colin L. Powell helped guide the U.S. military to victory in the 1991 Persian Gulf War as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Powell was born in New York to Jamaican immigrants and eventually became the youngest and first Black chairman of the Joint Chiefs in the Army. He went through many jobs as military assistant to a high-level government official and as national security advisor for President Ronald Reagan for a short time. He served as the Pentagon’s top officer and helped play a positive role with the post-Vietnam military and helped reshape American forces after the Cold War.

He was selected by Bush in late 2000 to be secretary of state. He received backlash in 2003 during the invasion of Iraq for the size of the invading U.S. force. He supported his decision, but he later regretted it. He was also criticized for not pushing harder to stop the Iraq War. He defended himself by citing his duty to presidential authority.

In his first year as secretary, he won the release from China of the crew of a U.S. surveillance plane that made an emergency landing after colliding with a Chinese plane over the South China Sea. He also led the pullout of U.S. troops from NATO peacekeeping operations in the Balkans, and he planned the U.S. withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty without causing Russian backlash.

After retiring from public service, Powell spent time on the lecture circuit. He helped children and minorities in need through a nonprofit organization called America’s Promise. He was a true American historical figure and had an amazing career where he accomplished many things and had a positive impact on our country.