Elliott Powell, Jr. was born on 22 February 1956 in Wiesbaden, Germany. A 1974 graduate of General H.H. Arnold High School, he was commissioned an Ensign through North Carolina Central University’s Naval ROTC program in 1978. Elliott served in the Navy for over 26 years in a variety of assignments. The first African American Director of the White House Situation Room, he directed the 24/7/365 operation of the “President’s Operations Center” and participated in over 50 presidential trips as the National Security Advisor’s representative from 1999-2001. Additionally, he commanded four warships and successfully led them through a multitude of training exercises, operational readiness inspections, and Battle Group Operations all over the world. During Operation Desert Storm he commanded USS Leader MSO 490 (a 172-foot long minesweeper with a 95-man crew) and was responsible for the destruction of 16 mines while conducting mine clearance operations with U.S. and Coalition forces in the Northern Persian Gulf. During Operation Sharp Guard he conducted embargo operations off the coast of Bosnia while in command of USS Robert G. Bradley (a 453 foot long guided missile frigate with a 225 man crew) and was personally chosen by the U.S. Navy to conduct the first ever port visit of an American warship to the nation of Slovenia. Elliott retired from the Navy in August 2004 as a Captain.