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Colin Powell’s Battle Dress Uniform
National Museum of American History, Behring Center

Colin Powell’s Battle Dress Uniform

Catalog #: 1998.0089.03    Accession #: 1998.0089
Credit: Armed Forces History, Division of History of Technology, National Museum of American History

Dimensions / Weight

Dimensions: 3.5" H x 7.5" W x 9.25" D

Physical Description

Woodland pattern camouflage, jacket, trousers and cap, with four stars pinned to front.

Specific History

This uniform was worn by General Colin Powell during Operations Desert Shield and Storm. Colin Powell was the first African American and the youngest person to chair 1989–93 the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1989–1993. Powell entered the U.S. Army in 1958 as a commissioned officer and served two tours of duty during the Vietnam War. In the 1970s he worked in the White House and also served in military command positions. In 1979 he was made a Major General and served as the military assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Defense until 1981. In 1981 he assumed Command of the 4th Infantry Division. From 1983 to 1986 Powell was military assistant to the Secretary of Defense. In 1986 he served as Commander of the V Corps in Western Europe. The next year he was named Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs. In 1989, Powell became a four-star General and was named Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He had an important role in planning the American invasion of Panama in late 1989. Powell was appointed secretary of state by President George W. Bush in 2001, becoming the first African American to hold the post.

General History

Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait on 6 August 1990. When diplomatic efforts failed to resolve the issue, the United Nations passed UN Resolution 678 on 28 November 1990. The resolution authorized the use of force to drive Iraq out of Kuwait. President George Bush initiated military action on 16 January 1991. The air war started with the United States air strike attack on Baghdad, and other military strategic targets within Kuwait. There were approximately 100,000 active duty personnel in Desert Storm. The ground war that followed included US Marines and the US Army, with an international coalition, where Arab forces fought along side the American and Allied forces on the ground.


Country: Iraq
War: Operation Desert Storm
Service: Army
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