CHARLEROI, Pa. (KDKA) – Former Secretary of State General Colin Powell is being remembered as a soldier and statesman. One person who knew him well is western Pennsylvania native and retired Army General Gus Pagonis. KDKA’s Ross Guidotti spoke to Pagonis about Powell’s legacy and what he meant to him as a friend and fellow soldier.
Powell once said he considered the leadership of Charleroi native Gus Pagonis as being one of the main factors Operation Desert Storm was the decisive military campaign it was. On Monday, Pagonis had high words of praise right back at Powell, a man he called a great American.READ MORE: Antonio Brown Suspended For Mispresenting COVID-19 Vaccination Status
Being Vietnam veterans and general officers, Powell and Pagonis had known each other for some time. It was during Operation Desert Storm however where Pagonis was tasked by the joint chiefs of staff Chairman General Colin Powell and General Norman Schwarzkopf to move 500,000 American troops and their equipment halfway around the world.
Powell would later say that herculean effort would not have been possible without Pagonis’ logistical genius.READ MORE: Maintenance To Impact Port Authority's Silver Line Next Week
“He was a great mentor, he taught me you never shoot the messenger, all the guy’s doing is telling you what’s going on. He always listened to both sides. Even when he didn’t like something, he would take what you said that was good and he’d say, ‘okay, you need to look at this part and this part,'” said Pagonis.
“I think he was a great leader and set a great principal for people to follow, especially for politicians. Get all the facts and once you get them, review them and make a decision.”MORE NEWS: COVID Omicron Variant Detected In Vaccinated Minnesotan Who Traveled To NYC Anime Convention
Pagonis said Powell was able to motivate people by being absolutely positive, professional and making sure his leaders cared about their people more than promotion.