Alaska’s leaders in Congress recognized the passing of Gen. Colin Powell, the former secretary of state and national security adviser, who died Monday of Covid-19 complications.

Powell, 84, was vaccinated against the coronavirus, but had weakened immunity after suffering from a rare form of cancer that made him vulnerable to illness, his doctors said.

Powell’s contributions as a military and government leader were remembered Monday by U.S. Rep. Don Young and Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan. They described Powell as a historical figure whose legacy will continue to inspire future generations.

The son of Jamaican immigrants, Powell was America’s first African American to chair the Joint Chiefs of Staff and to lead as U.S. secretary of state. He served in several presidential administrations, shaping American foreign policy at the end of the 20th century.

“I was saddened to hear of the passing of Colin Powell, a courageous public servant and patriot whose life exemplified the very best that our country has to offer,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan recalled working with Powell during the George W. Bush administration. Sullivan was on the National Security Council, when Powell was secretary of state.

“Powell was a trusted adviser to presidents navigating some of the most tumultuous geopolitical challenges of the past few decades,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan, who has served in the Marines Corps since 1993, noted Powell’s decorated military career, which included two tours of duty in Vietnam and chairing the Joint Chiefs of Staff under the George H.W. Bush administration.

Leading with ‘courage and distinction’

Powell “helped guide our nation with courage and distinction,” Young said. “His story will undoubtedly inspire future generations of leaders.”

Sen. Lisa Murkowski described Powell as “a giant in American history” who dedicated his life to public service and to the nation.

“He was a strong military leader, a man of character and a determined problem solver,” Murkowski said. “His humility, service and dedication to our country will forever be remembered.”

The three political leaders shared condolences with Powell’s wife of 60 years, Alma, and the couple’s three grown children.

Powell had described himself as a “reluctant warrior” determined to win.

Speaking to journalist Bob Woodward as his health declined, Powell said: “I don’t like wars. I don’t want to be a warrior. But remember the other thing that is well-known about me. And that is we go to a war, and I will do everything I can to beat the crap out of somebody, and win.”

Contact Linda F. Hersey at 907-459-7575 or at Follow her at

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