According to the New York Times, Colin Powell — the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, secretary of state and national security advisor — died Oct. 18 of complications of COVID-19.
He passed away at the age of 84 on a Monday. In his roles, Powell was influential for the national security of the U.S. He had recently gotten the COVID vaccine.
According to the New York Times, he was the first Black national security adviser, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and secretary of state. Powell also served in the Army for 35 years.
He was born in Harlem, grew up in the South Bronx and graduated from City College of New York. During his time in college, he decided to join the Army through the R.O.T.C. He began as a second lieutenant in the Army which had recently become desegregated.
Powell served twice in Vietnam, became the national security adviser to Ronald Reagan during his presidency nearing the end of the Cold War. He assisted in Reagan's negotiations for arms treaties and cutting ties with Mikhail S. Gorbachev, the Soviet president at the time.
With his position as chairman, Powell was able to construct multiple invasions. In an interview with the New York Times in 2007, Powell once talked about himself saying, “‘Powell is a problem-solver — he was taught as a soldier to solve problems. So he has views, but he’s not an idealogue. He has passion, but he’s not a fanatic.”
This statement of his is reflected in his time serving in the Army and as security advisor for both Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. He lived his life to solve problems that he saw in the world.