General Petraeus

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  • Topic: United States Military Academy, Fort Leavenworth, David Petraeus
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“The Leadership of General David H.Petraeus”
Wilma Denise Dowdell, Ivy L. Dawson, Katie Powell, William Waterworth, Chris D. Dozier Webster University
Introduction to Human Resources Development 5000

David Howell Petraeus was born in Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York on November 7, 1952 to Mariam (Howell), an American Librarian and Sixtus Petraeus, a Sea Captain emigrated to the United States from Franker, Netherlands, during the initial phase of World War II. Sixtus settled in Cornwall-on-Hudson, where David Petraeus grew up. Residents called him “Peaches” in reference to his often-mispronounced name and the nickname stuck with him as a cadet.

From a very young age, Petraeus showed a desire to serve in the military, so after he graduated from Cornwell High School in 1970, General Petraeus became a cadet at the West Point Military Academy in West Point where he served with distinction. As a cadet at West Point, he was on the intercollegiate soccer and ski teams; a cadet captain on the brigade staff; and a “distinguished cadet” academically. He rose to the rank of “Cadet Captain” and graduated from the U. S. Military Academy at West Point in 1974 in the top percent of his class with a B. S. degree. Just two months after graduation, Petraeus married Dickinson College (summa cum laude) graduate , Holly Knowlton, daughter of then West Point Superintendent General William A. Knowlton. Petraeus and his wife, Holly has a daughter, Anne and a son, Stephen, whom Petraeus administered the oath of office at his son’s commissioning into the Army after graduating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

General Petraeus earned the General George C. Marshall award as the top graduate of the U. S. Army Command and General Staff College in 1983 at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Subsequently, he earned an M.P.A. in 1985 and a PH. D degree in International Relations in 1987 from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. His doctoral dissertation was entitled “The American Military and the Lessons of Vietnam: A Study of Military Influence and the Use of Force in the Post-Vietnam Era”. He also completed a military fellowship at Georgetown University's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service in 1994–1995, although he was called away early to serve in Haiti as the Chief of Operations for the United Nations’ force in early 1995.

From late 2005 thru February 2007, Petraeus served as Commanding General of Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center (CAC) located there. During his time at CAC, he and Marine Lt. Gen James N. Mattis jointly oversaw the Publication of Field Manual 3-24, Counterinsurgency, the body of which was written by an extraordinary, diverse group of military officers, academics, human rights advocates, and journalists who had been assembled by Petraeus and Mattis. He integrated the study of counterinsurgency into lesson plans and training exercises and later, having refined his ideas on counterinsurgency based on the implementation of the new COIN doctrine in Iraq, he Published both in Iraq as well as in the Sep/Oct 2008 edition of Military Review, his “Commander’s Counterinsurgency Guidance” to help guide leaders and units in the Multi- National Force-Iraq.

In April 2008, he was nominated to succeed Adm. William J. Fallon as head of Centcom, the organization responsible for all U. S. military operations in an area spanning 25 countries and stretching from the Horn of Africa thru the Middle East to Central Asia. Petraeus was easily confirmed by the Senate in July, but stepped down as Commander in Iraq in September and was subsequently named Commander of U. S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan after General Stanley was relieved of his command in June 2010. Petraeus honors include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the DistinguishedService Medal, two awards of the Defense Superior Service Medal, four awards of...
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