God Bless You and Your Family, Sir
COLLIN POWELL-Two Nights with a Special Person
Seems like an eternity now, but some people and some things in one’s life you just will never forget for the rest of your Life. And Collin Powell and my two nights with him are just that for me.
In my early Military Days, I was stationed Overseas with the 2nd Infantry Division. And one of the things we had Duty doing was COURTESY PATROL in the Villages. And on two nights, I was on Courtesy Patrol not once, but twice with Collin Powell. I was Enlisted and he was an Officer…
Our Duty was simple-Take a good long look at what the Hell was going on in these Villages and how everyone was getting along. And we watched Hookers mingling with Soldiers and people laughing and joking and Getting Drunk. For most of it, with Our Bright Colored Armbands, everyone stayed away from us and treated us like Military Police or Cops. But we weren’t that at all.
And as we entered each Club, the Owner would quickly offer us a Table to sit and a non-alcoholic Drink. And there, we’d just sit and talk. Until then, I had never drunk a non-alcoholic Drunk before. But after two, I never wanted another. They were just so FLAT TASTING and Not good at all…real yucky.
So from Daylight near sundown and until we walked in with the last Soldiers as we had to get back on Base before Midnight, we were together.
Sundown to Midnight with Collin Powell.
And we’d watch Everyone walking crooked and or helping a buddy walking extra crazy drunkard style. And oh yes, I made a few appearances like that walking pretty well drunk like the rest of the 🇺🇸 Soldiers. But we’d earned it as we trained damn hard. And so damn much.
Anyhow, The 1st Time with Collin, we were just paired together. I reported to the MP Station at a certain time. And when Collin walked up to me. I remember thinking-boy, this should be interesting.
But only because I’d never been with a Black Officer. We didn’t have one or a Black Sgt. In our Company either. It was a novelty in a big way. And I was going to make the Best of it and We damn sure did.
The 2nd Time I was on Courtesy Patrol, Collin had requested me.
And Trust me, I was stone-cold sober and with a Black Officer in the Villages and our pairing was a fought road as We were Filled Plum to the Brim with Racial Hatred and racial distrust on the Military Base. Boy, We got H A T E Stares in the Villages. Me for being with a Black Officer and He for being in White Clubs. We made for a very Odd Couple that tragically, We stuck out like Mutt and Jeff.
If you saw us, I can only guess what you might have thought about seeing us together. But it didn’t take long for Collin to win me over. He was just so gosh darn one of a kind super special person.
And when we got to a Black Club, (Yes, all the Clubs were Segregated) Collin would tell me to stay Outside. You could smell the aroma of marijuana coming from the Door when it was opened. But who cared? I didn’t. And he’d just go inside and I was left Outside where two Black Soldiers were standing like Guarding the Front Door. Very Odd, but back then I could care less. It really didn’t make a shit to me. I had never been raised around Racial Hatred or any Crap like that in my life until Overseas. And we had it bad there. I admit, I was just a bit curious about How things went on for him inside those Black Clubs. But he’d never say a word about being inside.
And we’d make our Rounds and hit each of the Clubs at least twice during the night. But the Black Soldiers at the Black Club didn’t even acknowledge my presence or give me even a Go F**k Yourself, White Boy. But their eyes did! They Hated Me. They were shooting Hate Arrows out of their eyes and my being with Collin was my only Protection. I guess, I was his in all the White Clubs.
We were a Special pair for sure.
The racial Hatred was carried over from their Vietnam Tours and taken everywhere from there. And it was what it was. Some were into Race Shit and most weren’t. But we didn’t party Together. It was Whites and Texas Hispanics together. And Blacks and Puerto Ricans Hispanics from NYC partying together. Those NYC Hispanics were like Cuban Heritage. But they were more Hate Filled than Blacks. But we didn’t mix with each other in the Villages.
But, for every Club we went into, we sat and we talked. I was like a backwards encyclopedia trying to UNMASK Collin Powell than he was me. I wanted to know everything about the man. I never stopped asking him questions from A-Z and he was very well spoken and incredibly knowledgeable about every damn Subject I Quizzed him on. And he was Polite and Respectful. We both were. But our Politeness and Respectfulness was mutual and genuine.
Collin Powell was definitely a Soldier’s Soldier. A Soldier’s Officer.
And Collin asked me things about what I thought could or would help relieve the Racial Tension that the 2nd Infantry Division was experiencing. I think it was caused by the U.S. DRAFT for the most part. People didn’t want to be forced into the Military or fight in A War run by Politicians. Politician Wars are largely a Money Drainer and just another way to get people’s minds away from the Country’s Real Social Issues. And we all know what they are.
But quite honestly, deep inside each Americans Hearts-We do Love Each Other. And we’ll fight to protect the Nation if necessary. But the Vietnam Days were a different time altogether. And Race was a big Monster. An Ugly Monster. People are not content to hear about it. They don’t want to hear about it from a White Writer. But when you Lived it in part of your Life, you ought to listen. And I saw the worse Racial Hatred ever in Texas Prisons as a Texas Prison Guard. Not in the Military.
Racial tensions Overseas were mostly quick Hitting flare-ups. Then they are over.
And I know, who am I to say anything? Just a Writer now, but I became and I will always be a huge Fan of Collin Powell. All because of Those Two Nights with the man I will always cherish. For me, I was refreshed to find a man fully aware and wanting to really FIX the White-Black Race Tension Overseas. Collin told me that General Emerson was considering Options.
What took place over there reminds me of Democrats and Republicans here Today with Politicians Stoking the Fires of Dislike and Distrust amongst us.. Politicians are very versed on How to get People into a fight based upon emotions and NOT Healing or Fixing the real Problems.
Henry Everett Emerson gained recognition during the Vietnam War for his tactical ability on the battlefield. His tactics as a commander were novel. He conceived aerial reconnaissance and combat methods that were employed effectively against the Viet Cong. These included a “checkerboard concept” that involves small groups covering grid squares to seek out an enemy, “jitterbug” tactics which are complex manoeuvres using helicopters to surround an enemy. To the uninitiated this would seem jittery like the dance, and “Eagle Flights” which were helicopters loaded with local soldiers and flown in quickly to assist foreign troops in certain situations. He demonstrated that American soldiers could effectively “out-guerrilla” the Viet Cong. Emerson also developed the “seal-and-pile-on technique” (the rapid build-up of combat power to surround and destroy an enemy force). These highly complex tactics shattered many large enemy units.Emerson in 1975, with his non-standard six-shooter revolver.
Emerson was known for his somewhat eccentric personality, from his training methods to carrying a cowboy-style revolver in place of a regulation M1911 semi-automatic pistol. He was a believer in reverse-cycle training, during which troops trained at night and slept during the day. He also required that they watch the television film Brian’s Song, to promote racial harmony.
Colin Powell, who would later go on to become a four-star general and the U.S. Secretary of State, has stated that he and Emerson were very close and that what set Emerson apart was his great love of his soldiers and concern for their welfare. When Powell wrote his autobiography, “My American Journey”, he dedicated an entire chapter to Emerson. Powell said that Emerson’s leadership philosophy was “if we don’t do our jobs right Soldiers will not win”.
In many instances when he was the XVIII Airborne Corps commander he would turn in the tag numbers of excessively speeding vehicles. The next morning, the violator(s) would be escorted by the company and battalion commanders from their unit and a verbal reprimand would be delivered by the brigade commander.
Emerson suffered severe burns after his helicopter was shot down in the Mekong Delta. He had commanded forces during the Vietnam War prior to being stationed in South Korea. He later served as commander of the XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg, from July 1975 to June 1977. He died at the age of 89 on February 4, 2015.
But I want to tell you the Truth. Our Racial Tensions was caused by the BLACK PANTHERS and MEMBERS OF THE BLACK PANTHERS. On the Black side and those Puerto Rican ‘Blacks’. On the White side were WHITE SUPREMACISTS. Including MEMBERS OF THE KU KLUX KLAN
The Ku Klux Klan commonly shortened to the KKK or the Klan, is an American white supremacist terrorist hate group whose primary targets are African …
But I saw it, but didn’t want a part in it. So, I did not become or ever attend a White Power Meeting that were being held in Secret. And Black Soldiers
were meeting in my Quonset Hut Barracks late at night on some Fridays and Saturdays. And every one of those nights, I lay, watched, And listened from under my Bunk as the Barracks often filled to around a hundred of Black Soldiers. Three or four would be sitting on my Bunk. And me, under it. And I never heard such Hateful Words being slung out of Mouths and their Secret Oath that they’d say and Repeat. It was scary stuff, but it was what it was.
Collin and I talked about all of that too. He was stunned that I could repeat the Black Oath that the Black Soldiers were saying. And he could tell that I wanted no part of Race Shit. It wasn’t me and I never was raised-up around it. We were poor folks. And poor folks help each other. We were always too busy trying to make it than getting involved in Race Shit.
But I could tell as we talked that Collin was just one of those individuals that was an extremely rare find. You could tell that he was headed-up the Ladder as he was so concise so precise so intelligent with all the words that left his lips. He would never let his first thoughts bubble up to his lips. He spoke so well-educated that all I could do was to just Listen as he spoke while in awe. And because of this, I asked every thought I could ask. And he’d answer all questions except anything about the Black Clubs. He clammed-up about them..
I remember him giving me a hard look when I asked if they were doing the Race Oath in the Black Clubs. But I never asked twice.
Collin knew how bad Race Tensions were but I didn’t have a Clue. They were bad.
COMBAT FOOTBALL- was the Racial Tension Answer. We played Soccer like Rugby at times and we could get into a fight with anyone. No Rules! Anything went. But if you locked up in a fight, you had about a minute to unlock or face a Court Martial. But it got crazy bloody at Times. And it wasn’t until many years later that I learned the game was meant to FIX the Racial Tensions of the 2nd Infantry Division. I enjoyed playing it.
Combat football explained:
Combat football is a full-contact team sport similar to other football games such as rugby, but is distinguished by its emphasis on violence. The object of the game is to get the ball into the opposing team’s goal through “any means short of an actionable felony”. It was invented by South Korean border guards at the DMZ to keep soldiers sharp in peacetime, and was subsequently adopted by General Harry W. Brooks, Jr., commander of the United States Army, Tropic Lightning division. While the men of the Schofield Barracks were known to regularly play the game, very little information about the sport has appeared since a 1975 Sports Illustrated article(the one linked here).
Combat football was played by troops of the Second Infantry division stationed in the Republic of Korea near the DMZ from 1973 till approximately 1976. The game did not have any rules and injuries were common. Players did not wear any protective gear nor were there any time-outs called. Anything to win the game was legal except weapons. 1st BDE East camp Casey Korea won the championship in fall 1975. The game was adopted by General Hank “Gunfigher” Emerson, commanding officer of the 2nd Infantry Division.
TRAINING TILL THEY DROPPED! Was the 2nd way they kept Race Tension at Bay.
But again, Collin Powell was a Soldier’s Soldier.
A Soldier’s Officer!
Colin Luther Powell (/ˈkoʊlɪn/; April 5, 1937 – October 18, 2021) was an American politician, diplomat, statesman, and four-star general who served as the 65th United States Secretary of State from 2001 to 2005. He was the first African-American Secretary of State. Prior to the election of Barack Obama as president in 2008, he and his successor, Condoleezza Rice, were the highest-ranking African Americans in the history of the federal executive branch (by virtue of the Secretary of State standing fourth in the presidential line of succession). He served as the 16th United States National Security Advisor from 1987 to 1989 and as the 12th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1989 to 1993.
Powell was born in New York City in 1937 and was raised in the South Bronx. His parents, Luther and Maud Powell, immigrated to the United States from Jamaica. He was educated in the New York City public schools, graduating from the City College of New York (CCNY), where he earned a bachelor’s degree in geology. He also participated in ROTC at CCNY and received a commission as an Army second lieutenant upon graduation in June 1958. He was a professional soldier for 35 years, during which time he held many command and staff positions and rose to the rank of four-star general. He was Commander of the U.S. Army Forces Command in 1989.
Powell’s last assignment, from October 1989 to September 1993, was as the 12th chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest military position in the Department of Defense. During this time, he oversaw 28 crises, including the invasion of Panama in 1989 and Operation Desert Storm in the Persian Gulf War against Iraq in 1990–1991. He formulated the Powell Doctrine which limits American military action unless it satisfies criteria regarding American national security interests, overwhelming force, and widespread public support. He was the 65th United States Secretary of State, serving under Republican President George W. Bush. His term was highly controversial regarding his inaccurate justification for America’s Iraq War in 2003. He was forced to resign after Bush was reelected in 2004.
In 1995, Powell wrote his autobiography, My American Journey, and then in retirement another book, It Worked for Me, Lessons in Life and Leadership (2012). He pursued a career as a public speaker, addressing audiences across the country and abroad. Prior to his appointment as Secretary of State, Powell was the chairman of America’s Promise – The Alliance for Youth, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to mobilizing people from every sector of American life to build the character and competence of young people. He won numerous U.S. and foreign military awards and decorations. His civilian awards included the Presidential Medal of Freedom (twice), the Congressional Gold Medal, the Presidential Citizens Medal, the Secretary of State Distinguished Service Medal, and the Secretary of Energy Distinguished Service Medal. Several schools and other institutions were named in his honor, and he held honorary degrees from universities and colleges across the country. In 2016, while not a candidate for that year’s election, he received three electoral votes from Washington for the office of President of the United States.
Early life and education
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Powell’s last military assignment, from October 1, 1989, to September 30, 1993, was as the 12th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest military position in the Department of Defense. At age 52, he became the youngest officer, and first Afro-Caribbean American, to serve in this position. Powell was also the first JCS Chair who received his commission through ROTC.
During this time, he oversaw responses to 28 crises, including the invasion of Panama in 1989 to remove General Manuel Noriega from power and Operation Desert Storm in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. During these events, Powell earned his nickname, “the reluctant warrior.” He rarely advocated military intervention as the first solution to an international crisis, and instead usually prescribed diplomacy and containment.
As a military strategist, Powell advocated an approach to military conflicts that maximizes the potential for success and minimizes casualties. A component of this approach is the use of overwhelming force, which he applied to Operation Desert Storm in 1991. His approach has been dubbed the “Powell Doctrine.” Powell continued as chairman of the JCS into the Clinton presidency but as a dedicated “realist” he considered himself a bad fit for an administration largely made up of liberal internationalists. He clashed with then-U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Madeleine Albright over the Bosnian crisis, as he opposed any military interventions that didn’t involve U.S. interests.
Powell also regularly clashed with Secretary of Defense Leslie Aspin, whom he was initially hesitant to support after the latter man was nominated by President Clinton. At some point during a lunch-meeting between General Powell and Aspin for a preparation of Operation Gothic Serpent, while Powell was presenting what was needed to be prepared for the operations, Aspin was more focused on wolfing down his salad instead of listening and paying attention to Powell. The incident caused Powell to grew more irritated towards the Defense Secretary and led to his early resignation on September 30, 1993 and he was succeeded temporarily by Vice Chairman of The Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral David E. Jeremiah who took the position as Acting Chairman of The Joint Chiefs of Staff. Indeed, soon after Powell’s resignation on 3–4 October 1993 the Battle of Mogadishu as part of the Operation Gothic Serpent the aim of aim which was to captured Somalia warlord Mohammad Farrah Aidid was initiated and ended in a total disaster. The unfortunate outcome led to the death of 19 American servicemen and the shootdown that led to the crash of two United States Army Black Hawk helicopters and the capture of one of its pilots by the Somali militia. Many believed that the fiasco of the Battle of Mogadishu was caused by Defense Secretary Les Aspin and the Clinton Administration for not taking Powell’s request for an additional increase of tanks, armored vehicles, and AC-130 Spectre gunships air-support seriously enough. It is surmised that these armaments in support of Operation Gothic Serpent would have ultimately given more protection and support towards U.S. Troops later-on in the Battle of Mogadishu. The event that was depicted in the 2001 movie Black Hawk Down and was a major blowback towards the Clinton Administration was one of the reasons that led to Aspin’s resignation as Secretary of Defense in 1994. Powell also disagreed with the Clinton Administration’s then new “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy which allowed homosexuals to serve in the military, though not openly.
General Colin Powell took an early resignation from his tenure as Chairman of The Joint Chiefs of Staff on September 30, 1993. During his chairmanship of the JCS, there was discussion of awarding Powell a fifth star, granting him the rank of General of the Army. But even in the wake of public and Congressional pressure to do so, Clinton-Gore presidential transition team staffers decided against it.
- Chairman of The Joint Chiefs of Staff General Colin Powell with Vice Chairman of The Joint Chiefs of Staff General Robert T. Herres and the other members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at The Pentagon, November 7, 1989.
- General Colin Powell with Air Force Chief of Staff General Merrill McPeak and Secretary of The Air Force Donald Rice and Commanders-in-Chief of The Strategic Air Command General George Lee Butler at Strategic Air Command Headquarters in Offutt Air Force Base, Omaha, Nebraska.
- General Powell attends the Sunset Ceremony for Pearl Harbor survivors at the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial Visitors Center.
- General Colin Powell with President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush at Pearl Harbor during the ceremony commemorating the Attack on Pearl Harbor.
- Chairman of The Joint Chiefs of Staff General Colin Powell with Hellenic Republic Army Chief of Staff General Ioannis Veryvakis during a ceremony at The Pentagon.
- General Powell with former leader of Polish Resistance Movement Jan Karski.
- General Colin Powell with President George H.W. Bush and the other members of National Security Council discussing about the situation in the Persian Gulf in the Oval Office, White House on January 15, 1991.
- Chairman of The Joint Chiefs of Staff General Colin Powell with Commander of Central Command General Norman Schwarzkopf and Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Paul Wolfowitz in Saudi Arabia, February 1991.
- General Colin Powell inspecting U.S. Troops deployed in Saudi Arabia as part of Operations Desert Storm.
- General Colin Powell and General Norman Schwarzkopf.
- General Colin Powell with Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney and under secretary of defense for policy Paul Wolfowitz and the other members of U.S. Military officials in Saudi Arabia during the Persian Gulf War in 1991.
- General Colin Powell and General Norman Schwarzkopf during the Welcome Home parade honoring the men and women who served in Desert Storm in Washington, D.C., June 10, 1991.
Dates of rank
|General||April 4, 1989|
|Lieutenant general||March 26, 1986|
|Major general||August 1, 1983|
|Brigadier general||June 1, 1979|
|Colonel||February 1, 1976|
|Lieutenant colonel||July 9, 1970|
|Major||May 24, 1966|
|Captain||June 2, 1962|
|First lieutenant||December 30, 1959|
|Second lieutenant||June 9, 1958|
Awards and decorations
- Combat Infantryman Badge
- Expert Infantryman Badge
- Ranger Tab
- Parachutist Badge
- Pathfinder Badge
- Air Assault Badge
- Presidential Service Badge
- Secretary of Defense Identification Badge
- Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge
- Army Staff Identification Badge
Medals and ribbons
|Defense Distinguished Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters|
|Army Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster|
|Navy Distinguished Service Medal|
|Air Force Distinguished Service Medal|
|Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal|
|Defense Superior Service Medal|
|Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster|
|Bronze Star Medal|
|Joint Service Commendation Medal|
|Army Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters|
|Presidential Medal of Freedom with Distinction (1993)|
|Presidential Medal of Freedom (1991)|
|Presidential Citizens Medal|
|Secretary’s Distinguished Service Award|
|National Defense Service Medal with bronze service star|
|Vietnam Service Medal with silver service star|
|Army Service Ribbon|
|Army Overseas Service Ribbon with award numeral 4|
|Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) (United Kingdom)|
|Légion d’honneur, Grand Cross (France)|
|Meritorious Service Cross (M.S.C.) (Canada)|
|Skanderbeg’s Order (Albania)|
|Order of Stara Planina in the First Order (Bulgaria)|
|Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation|
|Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal|
Potential presidential candidate
Secretary of State (2001–2005)
Life after diplomatic service
Civilian awards and honors
- William Howard Taft IVAmerican diplomat
- Robert KaganAmerican historian
- Republican and conservative support for Barack Obama in 2008Support of Barack Obama from Republicans and conservatives during the 2008 presidential election
Sir, I will always remember you with the deepest Respect.