By Mukwuzi Joseph
Colin L. Powell, who helped guide the U.S. military to victory in the 1991 Persian Gulf War as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, then struggled a decade later over the U.S. invasion of Iraq as a beleaguered secretary of state under President George W. Bush, died Oct. 18 at 84.
The cause was complications from covid-19, his family said in a statement. He had been treated at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., his family added, noting he had been fully vaccinated.
Born in New York to Jamaican immigrants, Gen. Powell rose rapidly through the Army to become the youngest and first Black chairman of the Joint Chiefs. His climb was helped by a string of jobs as military assistant to high-level government officials and a stint as national security adviser to President Ronald Reagan. Charming, articulate and skilled at managing, he had a knack for exuding authority while also putting others at ease.