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Colin Powell is best known as the first African American appointed as the United States Secretary of State under President George W. Bush. He earned his rank of General in the United States Army. He has also held the titles of National Security Advisor, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Colin Powell is a political man with much of his life lived out serving his country.
Colin Powell was born in to Jamaican immigrants in 1937. He grew up in the South Bronx and had a public education. He earned his bachelor’s degree in geology from the City College of New York. While at the City College of New York he participated in ROTC and received a commission as an Army second lieutenant upon his 1958 graduation. He attended George Washington University where he earned a Master of Business Administration degree in 1971.
Mr. Powell was a professional soldier for 35 years. He was the National Security Advisor for then President Reagan from 1987-1989. He earned the ranking of 4-star General under President George H.W. Bush where he served as Commander in Chief. His last military assignment was as the 12th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1989-1993. This is the highest military position in the Department of Defense. As the Joint Chiefs of Staff he oversaw 28 crises including the Victory in Operation Desert Storm during the Persian Gulf War. At the age of 52 he was the youngest officer ever to serve in that position.
While in Vietnam in the year 1963 Colin was injured by a punji-stick booby trap. He was awarded the Purple Heart and later that year the Bronze Star. Although injured during his first tour of Vietnam he went on to serve a second tour from 1968-1969. He again was injured but this time in a helicopter crash. He was awarded the Soldiers Medal for rescuing his comrades from the helicopter fire despite his own injuries. In his military career Colin was awarded 11 military decorations including the Legion of Merit.
He retired from the military and wrote his best selling biography entitled My American Journey which was published in 1995. He was also a public speaker across the United States and overseas. He became a popular figure with both American political parties. He campaigned for the Republican candidates after declaring himself a Republican. He declined being a possible opponent to Bill Clinton in the Presidential election of 1996. In 1997 Powell founded America’s Promise, a group aimed at helping children from all socio-economic areas. He is often seen wearing their logo of a red wagon pin on his lapel in support of the group.
In the year 2000, Powell campaigned for the Texas Governor George W. Bush. He was appointed as the key foreign policy advisor for the campaign. With the success of the Bush nomination for President Colin Powell was appointed to the job he is best known for. Colin Powell became the first African American to be appointed as the United States Secretary of State under the newly elected President George W. Bush.
While he was Secretary of State Colin Powell was seen as moderate. He was well liked by Americans and traveled the least of his predecessors. His job became critical after September 11, 2001. He was in charge of securing good relationships with foreign countries to aid in the War on Terrorism. The most criticism he has been given during his career was during the War on Terrorism and the invasion of Iraq.
Colin Powell achieved many things in his life. He is still active on the public speaking circuit and gives advice to other politicians. During his time he has seen a few wars. He has worked with some of the best politicians in America including Nixon, Reagan, Carter, and both Bush’s. He is a determined and a bright man who has made a difference in America and foreign affairs.