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Immediate Release

Department of Defense Statement by Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III on the Death of Colin Powell

On behalf of the men and women of the Department of Defense, I send my deepest condolences to the family of Colin Powell. He led a great American life, and his love of country shone throughout his long and distinguished career in the military and in other forms of public service.

From his earliest days in the U.S. Army, it was clear that Colin Powell was an exceptional leader. Serving two tours in Vietnam, he earned the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star, and the Soldier’s Medal for heroism, among other military decorations. He culminated his time in uniform as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, where he oversaw Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm with his singular brand of sure and steady professionalism and courage.

In and out of uniform, he earned the trust of U.S. presidents, foreign leaders, diplomats, and the American people. As Secretary of State, Colin Powell advanced U.S. values of democracy, diversity, and freedom all around the world. And through his philanthropic work, this son of immigrants raised in the South Bronx set out to expand opportunity for young people, helping them find something they do well and love doing, just as he had found in the U.S. military.

While we mourn his loss, we also honor the profound imprint that Colin Powell has left on the United States. Generations of young leaders will continue to look to his example and his character as the foundation for their own success. 

It is difficult to overstate the difference he made. I counted him among my best mentors and friends, and this news has left a hole in my heart.

There will never be another Colin Powell. He made history. He made the country he loved a safer, better place. And we will forever be grateful for his leadership. 

Our thoughts remain with his beloved Alma, his children Michael, Linda, and Annemarie, and the rest of his family at this sad and painful time.