Biography of General Colin Luther Powell: A Positive Leader

Pages: 4 (1187 words) Published: September 16, 2013
Jrotc Positive Leader Paper Gen. Colin Powell
By Josh Buck
Early Life

Colin Luther Powell was born on April 5, 1937, in Harlem, a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Manhattan. His parents Jamaican immigrants were Maud Arial (née McKoy) and Luther Theophilus Powell. He also has Scottish ancestry. Powell was raised in the South Bronx and attended Morris High School, a former public school in the Bronx, from which he graduated in 1954. While at school, he worked at a local baby furniture store where he picked up Yiddish from the shopkeepers and some of the customers. He received his BS degree in geology from the City College of New York in 1958 and was a self-admitted C average student. He was later able to earn a MBA degree from the George Washington University in 1971, after his second tour in Vietnam.


Powell described joining the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) during college as one of the happiest experiences of his life discovering something he loved and could do well he felt he had found himself. According to Powell:

“It was only once I was in college, about six months into college when I found something that I liked, and that was ROTC, Reserve Officer Training Corps in the military. And I not only liked it, but I was pretty good at it. That's what you really have to look for in life, something that you like, and something that you think you're pretty good at. And if you can put those two things together, then you're on the right track, and just drive on.”

Cadet Powell joined the Pershing Rifles, the ROTC fraternal organization and drill team begun by General John Pershing. Even after he had become a general, Powell kept on his desk a pen set he had won for a drill team competition.

Vietnam War

In his autobiography, Powell said he is haunted by the nightmare of the Vietnam War and felt that the leadership was very ineffective.

Captain Powell served a tour in Vietnam as a South Vietnamese Army...
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