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President Bush announces his appointment of General Colin Powell as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Bush Presidential Library

On August 10, 1989, President Bush announced his appointment of General Colin Powell as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Powell became the architect of Operation Desert Shield, a staging operation that moved American and international forces and materials to the Middle East to launch Operation Desert Storm. As President Bush’s trusted advisor, Powell helped shape a global alliance that executed the most intricate and high-tech military campaign in history. This operation reversed the invasion of Kuwait and defeated the Iraqi army. Powell served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff until 1993. He had been a White House Fellow in 1972, worked as an executive assistant in the Energy and Defense departments during the Carter administration, served as senior military assistant to Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger, and was President Reagan’s National Security Advisor from 1987 to 1989. Powell, a son of Jamaican immigrants, was born on April 5, 1937, in Harlem, New York. He attended the public schools of New York and graduated from the City College of New York in 1958. While at the college he joined the Reserve Officer Training Corps and received a commission as second lieutenant upon graduation. After basic training at Fort Benning , Georgia, he embarked on a military career that took him to operational and command assignments in the United States, Germany, Vietnam, and Korea and culminated in his appointment as the first black officer to hold the nation’s highest military post.

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