Powell, Colin (Luther)(1937– ) soldier; born in New York City. He graduated from the City University of New York and received a second lieutenant's commission in 1958. Decorated for service in Vietnam, Powell subsequently held a series of senior commands and was a presidential assistant for national security affairs (1987–89). The first African-American to become chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1989), he had overall responsibility for the U.S. military effort against Iraq (operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm) in 1990–91.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.