Colin Powell Timeline
Timeline Description: Colin Powell (born April 5, 1937) is one of the most significant military leaders of the 20th century. Powell played a key role in the military structure and events of the 1990s through 2004. Following his retirement, Powell's public persona and views began to change, even becoming critical of military policies and actions.

Date Event
April 5, 1937 Birth of Colin Luther Powell

Colin Luther Powell was born to Luther Powell and Maud Ariel McKoy Powell on April 5, 1937 in Harlem, New York. His parents were Jamaican immigrants.
June 1958 Basic Training

After participating in ROTC during college, Powell entered basic training at Ft. Benning, Georgia in June, 1958. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant.
August 25, 1962 Married Alma Vivien Johnson

On August 25, 1962, Colin Powell married Alma Vivien Johnson Powell. The two remain married today, and are parents to one son and two daughters.
1960 Two Tours of Duty in Vietnam(1960s)

During the 1960s, Powell served two tours of duty in Vietnam. He was twice wounded during his service and received honors for his actions.
May 1971 MBA from George Washington University

Still serving an active duty role, Powell earned an MBA from George Washington University.
December 1978 Promoted to Brigadier General

In December 1978, Powell continued his military success with a promotion to Brigadier General.
1986 Commanding General of Fifth Corps

In 1986, Powell was made Commanding General of the Fifth Corps in Frankfurt, Germany.
November 1987 Made a National Security Advisor

During the presidency of Ronald Reagan, Powell took on the role of National Security Advisor to the President.
April 1989 Made a Four Star General

Powell was made a Four Star General in April 1989. At the same time, he took command of all U.S. Forces from Ft. Benning, Georgia.
August 1989 Chairmanship of Joint Chiefs of Staff

In August 1989, Powell was made chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. His role in the command structure of the U.S. Army continued to grow.
January 17, 1991 Commander of Desert Storm(January 17 to February 28, 1991)

During the war in Iraq, following the invasion of Kuwait, Powell took command of the operation, Desert Storm.
September 1993 Retired from Military

In September 1993, Powell retired from the U.S. military, beginning a number of private ventures.
December 16, 2000 Nominated to Serve as Secretary of State

Under George W. Bush, Powell was nominated to serve as Secretary of State.
January 20, 2001 Confirmed as Secretary of State

Following a unanimous vote, Colin Powell was confirmed and inaugurated as Secretary of State.
November 15, 2004 Presented Letter of Resignation

Powell resigned from his post in November 2004, agreeing to serve until his replacement was confirmed and inaugurated.
2007 Changed Political Views(Summer 2007)

By the summer of 2007, Powell's political views appeared to have changed. He criticized military actions in Iraq and endorsed Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential race.