Soldier, Statesman, & Gentleman: Colin Powell Dead at the Age of 84

by Vito Lucia and Bernard P. Lawson, The Chicago Times

October 18, 2021

Powell, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 1989.

WASHINGTON — Colin Powell, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and later Secretary of State died Monday at the age of 84 from complications of COVID-19 while receiving treatment for cancer.

He enlisted in the Army and was one of over 16,000 military advisers sent to South Vietnam by President John F. Kennedy in 1962.  He was assigned as a military assistant to Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, who became his unofficial sponsor, after a series of promotions.  Later, he was commander of the Army’s 5th Corps in Germany and national security adviser to President Ronald Reagan.

Powell would serve in the Army for 35 years, rising to the rank of four-star general before becoming the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1989.  During the Gulf War against Iraq in 1991, Powell would become a household name after his successful implementation of the Powell Doctrine, which held that the United States should only commit forces to a conflict if it has clear and achievable objectives, sufficient firepower, and a strategy for ending the war.  Powell would later be appointed Secretary of State under George W. Bush in 2001.

Powell’s family said he had been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus when he died.

Powell’s longtime aide, Peggy Cifrino, said he had also been treated for multiple myeloma, a blood cancer that impairs the body’s ability to fight infection, in recent years.  According to studies, cancer patients do not receive as much protection from the COVID-19 vaccines as healthy people.

Powell with Pres. Reagan, 1988.

Flags at government buildings such as the White House, Pentagon, and State Department were ordered to be lowered.

Former President George W. Bush said Monday “He was a great public servant . . . widely 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.”

Former Sec. of State Condoleezza Rice said in a statement “Powell was a trusted colleague and a dear friend through some very challenging times.”

Powell will be missed by many and is survived by his wife and children and grandchildren.

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