Four-star General Colin Powell was the first African-American U.S. Secretary of State, serving under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005. Prior to his service Powell was also the first African-American to serve as Chairman to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, an office he held from 1989 to 1993. But how did young Powell, a C student from the Bronx and a child of Jamaican immigrants, reach the highest military position in the Department of Defense?
While Powell was attending university at City College of New York, he found his calling in the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC). He graduated to become an Army second lieutenant and later went on to serve two tours in the Vietnam War. In 1989 under President George H. W. Bush, Powell was made a full general, before being named 12th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Powell is the Founding Chairman of America's Promise Alliance, an organization which supports children through volunteer networks.