Colin Powell has died aged 84. He is one of those rare people who could have been President, but never ran for the office.
He grew up in the South Bronx as the son of immigrants from Jamaica. In 1958 he joined the Army, training in Georgia, where many establishments refused to serve him because he was black. His ranks were:
- 1958 – 2nd lieutenant
- 1959 – 1st lieutenant
- 1962 – Captain
- 1966 – Major
- 1970 – Lieutenant Colonel
- 1976 – Colonel
- 1979 – Brigadier General
- 1983 – Major General
- 1986 – Lieutenant General
- 1989 – General
He served and was wounded in Vietnam. He later served as National Security Advisor to Ronald Reagan where he helped negotiate arms treaties with the USSR. He was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to George HW Bush and Secretary of State to George W Bush. He became famous as Chairman during the first Gulf War,.
Polls showed that if had stood in 1996 against Bill Clinton, he would have won by a landslide 12%. Later as Secretary of State he had an almost unprecedented 88% approval rating.
Colin Powell was a stellar example of the American Dream – the son of immigrants who ended up with some of the highest offices in the land.