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Today we mourn the passing of an American hero and trailblazer.


was a politician, diplomat and four-star general in the U.S. Army who served as the 65th United States Secretary of State from 2001 to 2005 under President George W. Bush. He was the first African-American Secretary of State. Prior to the election of Barack Obama as president in 2008, he and his successor, Condoleezza Rice, were the highest-ranking African Americans in the history of the federal executive branch (by virtue of the Secretary of State standing fourth in the presidential line of succession). He served as the 16th United States National Security Advisor from 1987 to 1989 and as the 12th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1989 to 1993.


Powell was born in Harlem, New York in 1937 and was raised in the South Bronx. His parents, Luther and Maud Powell, immigrated to the United States from Jamaica. He was educated in the New York City public schools, graduating from the City College of New York (CCNY), where he earned a bachelor's degree in geology. He also participated in ROTC at CCNY and received a commission as an Army second lieutenant upon graduation in June 1958. He was a professional soldier for 35 years, during which time he held many command and staff positions and rose to the rank of four-star general. He was Commander of the U.S. #Army Forces Command in 1989.


He was also instrumental in the military career success of one of our own VetNet Advisors; Michelle Alban, Air Force veteran and current VP of Communications and Social Impact for ViacomCBS Americas. “General Powell was a giant among military leaders, and I am proud to have served under his command. God speed, General Powell. May you rest in peace.” -Michelle Alban


To echo Michelle, rest in peace, General Powell. Thank you for your steadfast legacy of excellence and service. Our military and veteran community lost a light in your passing, but your legacy of service will uplift many generations of service members still to come.