At the time this biography was written [July 2007] General Petraeus was probably the most visible Dutch American personality on the national and international scene. The one exception might be Tiger Woods, the world famous golfer. Petraeus was the commanding general of the Iraq War, and the potential problem solver for the situation the United States had gotten itself into because of the war. Anything General Petraeus could do to relieve the quandary faced by the United States, would be considered a success.
General Petraeus has had a long military career. He first entered the military in 1970, when he enrolled in the United States Military Academy at West Point. So, at the height of his career in 2007, he had already been in the military for 37 years. Considering that many military people retire with a military pension after twenty years, his 37 years of military service, is much longer than normal.
General Petraeus is not the typical military commander. He is also an educated man. As a promising military officer, he had the opportunity, during his military career, to advance his education well beyond what he had learned at the U. S. Military Academy, from where he graduated in 1974. About 10 years after graduation, Petraeus was given the opportunity to do graduate study at a university of his choice, and apparently also on a topic of his choice. He chose the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. At Princeton, he earned his M.P.A. Degree in International Affairs in 1985. He stayed on to work on his doctoral degree, and in 1987 he was awarded the Ph.D. Degree in International Affairs. A military officer with a doctoral degree is unusual, and what is even more unusual, is a general with a doctoral degree. At the conclusion of his studies at Princeton, Petraeus made a statement about his graduate studies experience, and stated: "I also suspected that, while at the Woodrow Wilson School, interactions with fellow students would prove stimulating; in truth, they proved even more so than I had anticipated. My two years at Princeton were truly wonderful in every respect, and I remain indebted to the professors and staff of the School who helped to make the experience so enjoyable and stimulating".
Petraeus's military career progressed at a rapid rate. After graduation from West Point Academy, he began his military career as a 2nd lieutenant in 1974, was promoted to a 1st lieutenant in 1976. Two years later, in 1978, he received the rank of captain. He remained a captain for seven years. In 1985, he was promoted to major, and to lieutenant colonel in 1991. He became a colonel in the year 1995, and a brigadier general in the year 2000. Three years later, in 2003 he was promoted to major general. The following year, in 2004, he became a lieutenant general, and on January 27, 2007, General Petraeus was confirmed as a four star general and as MNF-1 commander in Iraq, by a unanimous vote of the United States Senate.
General Petraeus has received numerous decorations and badges, as is common for most senior military officers. Among the more meritorious ones are the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Distinguished Service Medal [ with Oak Leaf Clusters], the Defense Superior Service Medal [with Oak Leaf Clusters], the Legion of Merit Medal [with three Oak Leaf Clusters], the Bronze Star Medal [with "V" Device], the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal [with two Oak Leaf Clusters], the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the NATO Meritorious Service Medal, and the State Department Superior Honor Award.
General Petraeus has been involved with a number of major military foreign operations activities. The first one he was engaged in was OPERATION UPHOLD DEMOCRACY in Haiti from January 1995 to June 1995, as chief operations officer of the U. N. Mission to Haiti.
The second major military operation he was involved in was OPERATION DESERT SPRING from August 1999 to July 2000, as assistant division commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and commanding general of CJTF-Kuwait. The third operation was OPERATION JOINT FORCE in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina from June 2001 to June 2002, as assistant chief of staff for operations, SFOR, and as deputy commander, United States Interagency Counter Terrorism Task Force. The fourth operation was in OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM from July 2002 to May 2004, as commanding general, 101st Airborne Division, based at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. His current assignment is also OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM, as commanding general, of MNF-1 to lead all U.S. troops in Iraq.
Following the above General Petraeus was appointed commanding general of all U.S. forces in Afghanistan. That assignment was rather brief because he was needed as Director of the CIA, which required him to resign from the U.S. Armed forces. He was CIA Director for about a year when it was discovered that he had had an affair, and although this did not preclude him from continuing his govenrment service he decided to resign from the CIA position. Since then he he has been involved in advisory activities. In 2013 the Holland Society of New York honored him at their annual dinner.
General Petraeus was born on November 7, 1952 to Dutch American parents. His father, Sixtus, was a captain in the Navy and immigrated to the United States following the Second World War. Petraeus was raised in Cornwall on Hudson, New York, not far from the West Point Military Academy, where he would get his initial military training. Two months following graduation, from the U. S. Military Academy, he married the daughter of the Military Academy's superintendent. His wife's name is Hollister [Holly] Knowlton. The couple has a son and a daughter, both now adults.
Lieutenant General David H. Petraeus, http://www.wws.princeton.edu/qzalumni/testimonials/petraeus.html (link no longer active)
David Petraeus, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Petraeus
General David Petraeus, http://www.yuddy.com/articles/other/general-david-petraeus.html
Commander, NATO Training Mission-Iraq and Chief, Office of Security Transition-Iraq [Baghdad, Iraq], Lieutenant General David H. Petraeus, http://www.afsouth.nato.int/JFCN_Biographies/NTM-I/LtG_Petraeus/LtG_Petraeus.htm
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