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Fort Knox colonel reflects on loss of ‘national hero’ Colin Powell

Colin Powell was 84 years old and suffered from a cancer of his white blood cells, multiple...
Colin Powell was 84 years old and suffered from a cancer of his white blood cells, multiple myeloma.(WBAY Staff)
Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 11:45 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Colin Powell’s death, to many, means the loss of an icon and a hero. He was known for breaking down barriers and boundaries as a high-ranking soldier and diplomat.

Col. Maurice Barnett, the Deputy Commanding Officer of the United States Army Cadet Command, said Powell influenced his career and those of other soldiers serving the United States around the world.

”On behalf of United States Army Cadet Command, we’re certainly sad to hear of the loss of a national hero,” Barnett said.

In his 26 years of service, Barnett said he found himself following a similar path as Powell.

”What I saw in him was a reflection of myself,” he said. “Understanding the journey that he’s taken to get to that position as a four-star general in the Army. It spoke personally to me because it was what was possible. Someone who looked like me. (We) come from similar backgrounds and from modest beginnings rose to the highest level of the Army.”

Barnett said he became accustomed to seeing Powell everywhere, including on TV and in newspapers, such as the July 27, 1989 edition of Inside the Turret, the Fort Knox Newspaper, which included an article and a photograph of Powell visiting Fort Knox and speaking to graduating cadets.

(Story continues below photos)

Colonel Describes Powell having lasting impact on Fort Knox and Army Cadets. July 27, 1989...
Colonel Describes Powell having lasting impact on Fort Knox and Army Cadets. July 27, 1989 Edition of Inside the Turret shows Gen. Powell Visiting and Speaking to Graduating Cadets(WAVE3 News)
Colonel Describes Powell having lasting impact on Fort Know and Army Cadets. July 27, 2989...
Colonel Describes Powell having lasting impact on Fort Know and Army Cadets. July 27, 2989 Edition of Inside the Turret shows Gen. Powell talking to graduating cadets(WAVE3 News)

”The kids we have right now, sitting in colleges across the United States who are in ROTC classes, reflect and see themselves in everything general Powell stood for,” Barnett said.

He added that much of what Powell spoke of will benefit many cadets and could lead them to other leadership opportunities.

”In 1989, Powell became the youngest and first officer to serve as the joint chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest military position in the Department of Defense,” Barnett said. “In 2001, Powell made history again, when he became the first Black secretary of state.”

Powell made more history in 2016 when he was inducted into the ROTC Hall of Fame as part of its inaugural class.

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