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Major Player: Gen. Colin L. Powell (Ret.)

Chairman of America's Promise: The Alliance for Youth, a nonprofit group dedicated to encouraging volunteerism and assisting youth. Served 35 years in the military, becoming the 12th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1989.

Age: 63

Education: Bachelor's degree from City College of New York, MBA from George Washington University.

Family: Married, 3 children.

Career: Entered the Army as a second lieutenant in 1958. Served as President Ronald Reagan's national security adviser. Became chairman of the Joint Chiefs in 1989. Honored with numerous civilian and military awards and decorations, including two Presidential Medals of Freedom, the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Army Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Soldiers Medal, Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.

In the military: Shot through the ranks from second lieutenant to general. Wounded in Vietnam. As chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Powell masterminded U.S. efforts in the Persian Gulf War, becoming a household name overnight and shooting to the top of all potential-president lists. Flirted with a bid in 1996 but ultimately said it was "a calling I do not yet hear."

Did you know?
Powell's parents, Jamaican immigrants and subjects of the British empire, pronounced their son's name KAH-lin. But Powell's childhood friends in the South Bronx, impressed by the heroic exploits of World War II flyer Colin P. Kelly Jr. (known as KOH-lin), altered the pronunciation and its been KOH-lin Powell ever since.

See also: CQ Profile

© 2000 The Washington Post Company

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