Colin Powell

‘He'll Always Be a Great American': San Diego Military Advisory Council CEO Reflects on Colin Powell's Impact

Gen. Colin Powell has been in San Diego on numerous occasions. Most notably, as a keynote speaker at the Republican National Convention in 1996.

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General Colin Powell’s legacy has impacted millions across the country, even those who never met him, yet respected his leadership.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell has been in San Diego on numerous occasions. Most notably, as a keynote speaker at the Republican National Convention in 1996.

He also spoke at the Mortgage Bankers Association’s annual conference in 2015.

Powell has touched so many lives including Mark Balmert. He served in the Navy and currently serves as President and CEO of San Diego Military Advisory Council.

"It’s a sad day for a lot of people, not just people who knew him or served with him, but he was a great leader in both the military and outside the military,” Balmert said.

NBC 7's Omari Fleming shares reaction to Colin Powell's death and spoke to a doctor about his condition, which made battling COVID even tougher.

Although he never met Powell, Balmert respected Powell's style of leadership.

"He was a war hero in Vietnam, he was wounded in combat, he rescued people that had been injured in combat,” Balmert said. “He did things from an early age that many others do as well, but he didn’t enter the picture as a four-star general, he became a four-star general.”

The late Colin Powell was the first Black Secretary of State and deeply studied African American military history, says Brandeis University's Chad Williams. "We need to remember him as part of that tradition. A tradition that is rife with struggle, with pain, with institutionalized racism, but also with heroic achievement and accomplishment," Williams said.

Motives behind the Iraq War created the only smear to Powell’s pristine career.

"I believe that he regretted his role in bringing us into that war. But at that time, he wasn’t trying to mislead us to enter the war. He honestly believed that what he was doing was helping us with a difficult decision to do the right thing,” Balmert said. "What we’ve learned in many times since then -- we keep learning the same thing over and over again -- is that intelligence is a tool but it’s not faultless.”

The 84-year-old, four-star general has left a mark in our nation’s history – one that will be honored for generations.

Vice President Kamala Harris on Monday talked about the accomplishments of former Secretary of State Colin Powell and how much he inspired others.

“Many people thought he should run for president and if he did, he probably would’ve been elected because he was so well respected, but he wasn’t a political animal, I don’t think,” Balmert said. “We’ll miss him. He was a great American. He’ll always be a great American.”

California congressional leaders have expressed their condolences online. Many calling Gen. Powell a man of deep integrity, who dedicated his life to our country.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin made brief remarks about his "personal friend" Colin Powell, while traveling in the former Soviet republic of Georgia.
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