OJ. b. 1937
Colin Powell, appointed by former president George Bush to chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was bom in Harlem in New York City. He went to Morris High School in the South Bronx and College of New York, from which he graduated in 1958 with a B.S. in geology. He also joined the Reserve Officers Training Corps, where he became a second lieutenant upon graduation. He served in Viet¬ nam and entered George Washington University after two tours of duty. He married Vivian Johnson in 1963
Graduating with an MBA in 1971, Powell was educated in more than just business. He had received a White House Fellowship the same year and had already been exposed to the daily politics of Washington. Though he continued to climb through the ranks in the military from 1972 to 1978, it was the Jimmy Carter administration that brought him back into the complex world of White House politics.
As executive assistant to the secretary of energy, and then as senior military assistant to the deputy sec¬ retary of defense successively from 1979 to 1986, Powell began a new ascent. He was sent to Frankfurt, Germany, where he was named commanding general of a US Army Corps before returning to assist Frank Car- lucci, the president’s national security advi¬ sor, and the National Security Council (NSC).
When Carlucci was promoted to secre¬ tary of defense, Powell succeeded him as national security advisor. Through succes¬ sive positions, Powell had learned how to affect national policies on security and trade. He was also a respected advisor on domestic issues like education and the envi¬ ronment.
Already a visible, key player in national and international affairs, it was President George Bush who promoted Colin Powell to “the most powerful military position in the world,” as writer Columbus Salley wrote. In 1989, Colin Powell was named chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It was the highest honor a military man could receive.
When Iraq invaded Kuwait in August, 1990, it was Powell who was in control of organizing Operation Desert Storm, ulti¬ mately forcing Iraqi troops out of that oil- rich country in February, 1991.
Operation Desert Storm was clearly the most advanced, impressive, high-tech war ever waged, and its effects were nearly instantaneous. Less than a month of full warfare waged by the Allies against Iraq was all it took to end an internationally threatening situation.Colin Powell was reappointed by Presi¬ dent George Bush in 1991 and retired in 1993.