In 1993, Powell retired from the Army. Throughout Powell’s career in the United States Army he has earned many military decorations. He has earned thirty four U. S. Awards sixteen of which are unique, and ten badges. He has also won seven foreign awards. Some of the awards Powell has received are the Soldier’s Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, Defense Superior Service Medal, Army Distinguished Service Medal, and a Purple Heart.
Retirement from the Army
“Command is lonely.” – Colin Luther Powell
The time between his retirement and next public office proved to be very busy for him. He joined former President Carter and Senator Sam Nunn in 1994 on an expedition to Haiti, which ended in a return to elected government in Haiti. Also after his Army retirement, he wrote a best-selling autobiography in 1995 called “My American Journey”. He then became Chairman of America’s Promise which is a non-profit organization seeking to foster character and competence in young people. His wife Alma is now co-chairman of this organization. Powell’s private career would end in 2000, when President George W. Bush appointed him as Secretary of State.
Tenure of Secretary of State
“Don’t let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision” – Colin Luther Powell
Colin Powell’s unanimous confirmation by the United States Senate made him the first African-American Secretary of State and one of two back to back African-American Secretary of States with Condoleezza Rice succeeding him as Secretary of State. Colin’s tenure at the State Department revolved mainly around the Iraq conflict. At first, Secretary Powell had opposed a military invasion of Iraq and instead that his policy of overwhelming force along with international support would work to control the Iraqi regime and remove Saddam Hussein from power. However, Bush decided against Powell’s advice and went to war, a move that Powell supported at the last minute. Powell’s job was to build up international support for the war effort, to do so Powell appeared before the United Nations to speak to the Security Council. Powell continued to build support throughout the remainder of Bush’s first term. In 2004, he acknowledged that the possibility that Iraq had a stockpile of chemical weapons was unlikely and his sources were wrong when he testified to Congress. After this Powell announced he was resigning as Secretary of State. Condoleezza Rice succeeded Powell as Secretary of State. In succeeding Powell as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice became the first female African-American and second African-American overall to serve as Secretary of State.