General Powell was a professional soldier
for 35 years. During that time he held many different command and staff
positions. His last assignment, from October 1, 1989, to September 30,
1993, was as the 12th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest
military position in the Department of Defense. During this time he oversaw
28 military and political crises, including Operation Desert Storm in
the victorious 1991 Persian Gulf War. In 2001, Powell became the first
African-American U.S. secretary of state, under President George W. Bush.
General Powell was born in New York City on
April 5, 1937, and was raised in the South Bronx, New York. His parents, Luther and
Maud Powell, immigrated to the United States from Jamaica. General Powell was educated in the New
York City public schools, graduating from Morris High School and City College of New York (CCNY),
where he earned a bachelor's degree in geology. He also participated in ROTC at CCNY and
received a commission as an army second lieutenant upon graduation in June 1958. His further
academic achievements include a Master of Business Administration degree from George
General Powell is the recipient of numerous
U.S. military awards and decorations including the Defense Distinguished Service Medal (with three
Oak Leaf Clusters), the Army Distinguished Service Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Defense Superior
Service Medal, Legion of Merit (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Soldier's Medal, Bronze Star Medal, and the
AMERICAS PROMISEan ongoing relationship with a caring adult;
a safe place to be with structured activities during nonschool hours;
a healthy start;
a marketable skill through effective education;
a chance to give back through community service.
In April 1997, General Powell chaired
the Presidents Summit for Americas Future in Philadelphia. Since then, he has been
serving as chairman of Americas Promise the Alliance for Youth, a national organization
dedicated to the advancement of the children of America. General Powell, through his work with
Americas Promise, is dedicated to the fulfillment of five promises necessary
for all children to become successful adults:
General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.), is also the author of a bestselling
autobiography, My American Journey, which traces his life from
his birth to immigrant Jamaican parents in Harlem to his role in advising
this countrys four most recent chief executives, Presidents Ronald Reagan,
Geoger H. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush.
FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN SECRETARY OF STATE
In 2001, then-Presidentelect George W. Bush nominated General Colin L.
Powell as U.S. Secretary of State. The Senate
easily approved the nomination, and General Powell became the first African
American to hold the post. Some of his duties include serving as the President's
principal adviser on U.S. foreign policy, conducting negotiations relating
to U.S. foreign affairs, and negotiating all treaties with foreign governments.
General Powell is married to the former Alma Vivian Johnson of
Birmingham, Alabama. The Powell family includes son Michael, daughters Linda and Annemarie,
daughter-in-law Jane, and grandsons Jeffrey and Bryan.
transcript of the interview with Gen. Colin Powell.