Report is a Short Biography of Colin Luther Powell. He was born on
May 5, 1937 in Presbyterian Hospital. He was born, and grew up, in
the South Bronx, New York. There was a big influence of drugs and
gangs where Powell lived but, he seemed to steer away from all of
that (source 1, page 23).
parents were immigrants from Jamaica. His mother’s name is Muad
Ariel McKoy. In Jamaica the McKoy fammily watched over sugar
plantations. She came to America with her mother (Colin’s
grandmother). Powell’s father’s name is Luther Theophilus Powell.
In Jamaica the
Powell families were peasant farmers. Muad and Luther while in New
York not in Jamaica (source 1, page 20, 21).
Colin Powell is
a smart man. Surprisingly when he was in fourth grade he was in the
slow class. When he attended Junior High School, he went to an all
male school. He did well academically but he was over looked by his
parents because his sister, Marilyn Powell, always did better. He
attended Morris High School in 1950. He was good in high school; he
never got into any fights or any sort of trouble. He completed High
school in 1954 (source 1, page 29, 30, 32).
to two colleges City College of New York (CCNY) and New York
University (NYU). Both accepted him but he went to CCNY because it
only ten dollars a semester as opposed to seven hundred and fifty
dollars a semester at NYU. Powell majored in Engendering. He finished
college in 1958 (source 1 pages 32, 36).
While in college
Powell joined the Recruit Officer Training Corps (ROTC). Powell said
he joined ROTC because of the discipline and “The sense of
comradery among a group of young men who were similarly motivated.
Maybe it was the uniform.” Another reason he said he joined is
because of the association with the military [source 2 (interview
page 1) (biography page 1)]. While Powell was in ROTC, he was in the
Pershing Rifles. The Pershing Rifles showed that a cadet was more
serious about ROTC than a regular cadet. The Pershing Rifles had to
stay in ROTC their whole college career. They were distinguished
through a yellow wrap worn on their right shoulder (source 1, page
In 1987 Powell
was the Nation Security Advisor to Ronald Regan. Two years later in
1989 he became the first black officer and the youngest officer to
hold the nation’s highest military office, the Chairman of Joint
Chiefs of Staff. While the Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff he
“Played a role in planning and executing the invasion of Panama in
1989 and the Persian Gulf War (1991).”(Source 4, page 1)
joined the United States Army in 1958 he was commissioned a second
lieutenant [source 2 (biography page 1)]. He went to Infantry Officer
Basic Course at Fort Benning in Georgia. They learned a number of
things but I will only list a few; they learned stuff like how to
call artillery fire, how to fill out government forms, use a radio,
maintain motor vehicles, and handle a prisoner of war. They did not
learn any of this stuff in ROTC (source 1 pages 45, 46).
Powell asked and
received orders to go to both Airborne and Ranger schools. Airborne
school was a bunch of punishing humiliating and repetitive physical
training. Most of this hard work was mental and the physical part was
toughening for future paratroopers. Ranger school is the ultimate
training. They work in the muddiest, sweatiest and most tiring and
taxing in the infantryman’s life in the field. Now Powell is an
Airborne Ranger, which is a big accomplishment (source 1, page 47)
In 1962 Powell
was on his first tour in Vietnam, they were going to special forces
camp and Powell stepped off the trail and into a punji trap. This
trap set buy Vietcong, the trap is basically a hole in the ground
with bamboo spikes in the hole. The bamboo spikes can go through any
boot and have buffalo dung on them to make sure they are infectious.
Powell felt it and pulled his foot out (the spike went through his
foot and boot) and kept going soon the infection set in and he had to
use a stick to walk. When they got to base, medics had to cut off the
boot, his foot was purple. The medics sent him to division
headquarters were there was a doctor to look at it. His foot was fine
in a couple of days. He received the purple heart and a bronze star
form his injury. In his second tour he was injured in a helicopter
accident but, even though he was injured he saved the rest of the
crew from the burning wreckage. He received the Soldiers medal. All
together Powell has earned 11 decorations including the Legion of
Merit [source 2 (biography page 1) (interview page 2)].
In 1989 Powell
became the Chairman of Joint Chief of Staff. At Powell’s Honor
Ceremony (outside on the White house lawn) George Bush did a speech
and Dick Cheny made a speech about Powell’s Chairmanship. Powell
spoke about a painting in the pentagon. It showed a family praying in
a church because the father had to go to war. It had an inscription
from the prophet Isaiah that said ?And the good Lord God asked: “Whom
shall I send? Who will go for us?” And the reply came back: “Here
I am send me.’ ” ( Source 1, page 161, 162).
official day as Chairman of Joint Chief of Staff was on October 1,
1989. He spent his longer days in the offices of the Chairman. People
noticed Powell with the great success of the Desert Shield and Desert
Storm operations in 1991. The Chairman of Joint Chief of Staff has
not been the powerful position it has become (source 1, page 161,
165). America’s top military leader meet during World War II with
the British officers to discuse allied plans. Then the National
Security Act of 1947 established the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Joint
Chiefs of Staff have a representative from the Navy, Army, Air Force,
and Marines. (Source, page 165)
from Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1993. With his popularity
he could have won the election of 1994 but he was concerned about his
family’s privacy and safety.
all family. I didn’t think it was the best thing for me to do at
this time.”Said Powell (source 3, page 56).
Powell was a
great inspiration for many people, from his life in the Bronx to the
Chairman of joint Chief of Staff. At one point Powell’s book was
the nation’s top seller. That shows you how much you people liked
him [source 2(profile), page 1].
I really liked
doing this report, I have learned a lot about Colin Luther Powell.
Now I can look up to someone that has really accomplished a lot in
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