It was announced Monday that former Secretary of State Colin Powell passed away at age 84 from “complications from COVID-19.”
Powell’s family released the following statement announcing his death:
“General Colin L. Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff passed away this morning due to complications from Covid 19. He was fully vaccinated. We want to thank the medical staff at Walter Reed National Medical Center for their caring treatment. We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather, and a great American.”
Powell had a long and distinguished military career and served as President George W. Bush’s secretary of state. He was the first Black American to ever hold this position.
In addition to serving as secretary of state, Powell played a leading role in the Gulf War as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and was President Reagan’s last national security advisor. General Powell was a four-star general who began his military career in 1958 and served as a military advisor to the South Vietnamese army during the Kennedy administration, before returning to Vietnam during the height of the Vietnam war later in the decade.
Powell showed heroism on the battlefields of Vietnam.
According to the Wall Street Journal, “He was wounded twice, falling into a bamboo trap during the first tour, causing a poisoned spike to go through his foot. During his second tour, he survived a helicopter crash. He was awarded the Soldier’s Medal for repeatedly returning to the burning helicopter to rescue others, including Maj. Gen. Charles Gettys, in 1968.”
Although Powell had a distinguished career of service, it was not without controversy.
In the lead-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, then-Secretary Powell made the case in front of the United Nations that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. However, it was later confirmed that Hussein did not possess WMDs. Powell’s testimony was based on false intelligence.
He left the Bush administration in 2005 and regretted his presentation to the U.N.
Although Powell served in three Republican administrations and claimed to be a Republican, he endorsed Barack Obama for president twice and did the same for Joe Biden in 2020.
Like fellow Vietnam war hero John McCain, Powell publicly spoke out against President Trump, most famously during the 2020 Democrat convention.
At the time, Colin Powell told CNN that “I certainly cannot, in any way, support President Trump this year. We have a Constitution and we have to follow that Constitution, and the president has drifted away from it.”
During his endorsement of Joe Biden at the DNC in the summer of 2020, Powell said, “I support Joe Biden because on Day One he will restore America’s leadership and our moral authority…Today, we are a country divided, and we have a president doing everything in his power to make it that way and keep us that way. What a difference it will make to have a president who unites us, who restores our strength and our soul.”
Powell’s family wrote in a public statement on Facebook that although he passed away due to Covid-19 complications, he was fully vaccinated.
“We want to thank the medical staff at Walter Reed National Medical Center for their caring treatment,” the family stated. “We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American.”