Just In:Colin Powell, Former US Secretary Of State, Dies Of COVID-19 Complications

…..He Was 84 Years Old 

Former U.S. Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell died Monday morning due to complications from COVID-19, his family said in a statement.

“He was fully vaccinated. We want to thank the medical staff at Walter Reed National Medical Center for their caring treatment,” the family said. “We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American.”

He served under four presidents — Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush — at the very top of the national security establishment, first as deputy national security adviser and then as national security adviser. Finally, he was appointed chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the senior ranking member of the U.S. armed forces and top military adviser to the president.

He was the first African American ever to hold that post and the first to be secretary or state.

During that time he helped shape American defense and foreign policy. He was in top posts during the fall of the Berlin Wall, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the downsizing of the military after the end of the Cold War, the 1989 invasion of Panama, the 1991 Gulf War, the 1992-93 engagement in Somalia and the crisis in Bosnia.

“Laura and I are deeply saddened by the death of Colin Powell,” Bush said in a statement. “He was a great public servant, starting with his time as a soldier during Vietnam. Many Presidents relied on General Powell’s counsel and experience. He was National Security Adviser under President Reagan, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under my father and President Clinton, and Secretary of State during my Administration. He was such a favorite of Presidents that he earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom – twice. He was highly respected at home and abroad. And most important, Colin was a family man and a friend. Laura and I send Alma and their children our sincere condolences as they remember the life of a great man.”

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, the Pentagon’s first African American chief, reacting to the news on Monday, said he feels “as if I have a hole in my heart.”

“The world lost one of the greatest leaders that we have ever witnessed,” Austin told reporters on a trip to the nation of Georgia. “And I lost a tremendous personal friend and mentor.”

Powell retired from the Army after the Gulf War, and his supporters urged him to enter politics, touting him as the only candidate with the moral stature needed to unite the country and heal longstanding racial wounds.

After his retirement, from 1994 to 2000, Powell was engaged in several notable humanitarian and personal efforts. In 1994, he, former President Jimmy Carter and former Sen. Sam Nunn, D-Ga., embarked on a peacekeeping mission in Haiti, in which they were able to help bring to an end to military rule and establish an elected government for the country.

In 1995, Powell published his autobiography, “My American Journey,” in which he touched on everything from his military experiences to more personal matters. Powell was also a co-chair for America’s Promise, a non-profit organization geared toward empowering young people, for which he served as chairman from 1997-2000.

The media spotlight first found the four-star Army general during the 1991 Gulf War, when, as head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he appeared on television screens across the world. With his steady gaze, he conveyed intelligence, certainty and straightforwardness.

After the allied coalition expelled the Iraqi army from Kuwait, Powell’s celebrity grew, and his name became synonymous with integrity for many Americans across the political spectrum.

A decade later, as President George W. Bush’s secretary of state, Powell played a pivotal role in another conflict. In the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks on the homeland, Powell worked to build an international coalition and used his long military experience to help design a strategy for the war on terrorism. He tried to prepare the country for a different type of war, one where the enemy might be hard to identify.

“I was raised a soldier, and you are trained, there is the enemy occupying a piece of ground. We can define that in time, space and other dimensions, and you can assemble forces and go after it,” Powell said at the time. “This is different. The enemy is in many places. The enemy is not looking to be found. The enemy is hidden. The enemy is very often right here within our own country. And so you have to design a campaign plan that goes after that kind of enemy.”

Throughout his service in the military, Powell never made his political leanings known. Although he served under both Democratic and Republican administrations, it wasn’t until 1995 that Powell announced that he had registered as a Republican. He formally supported the candidacy of Democratic presidential candidates Lyndon Johnson, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden.

The reelection campaign of former President Donald Trump brought out Powell’s political side in the last years of his life, when he called on voters not to support the incumbent, Republican president.

“I think he has not been an effective president,” Powell told CNN’s Jake Tapper in June 2020. “He lies all the time. He began lying the day of inauguration, when we got into an argument about the size of the crowd that was there. People are writing books about this favorite thing of lying. And I don’t think that’s in our interest.”

“The values I learned growing up in the South Bronx and serving in uniform were the same values that Joe Biden’s parents instilled in him in Scranton, Pennsylvania,” Powell said in a video message at the 2020 Democratic National Convention. “I support Joe Biden for the presidency of the United States because those values still define him, and we need to restore those values to the White House.”

After the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, Powell told CNN he “can no longer call myself a fellow Republican” and that “we need people who will speak the truth.”

Powell spent his entire adult life in service to his country. He leaves behind his wife of 48 years, Alma Powell, and his son, Michael.

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