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David Petraeus Fast Facts

CNN Editorial Research

Here is a look at the life of David Petraeus, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).


Birth date: November 7, 1952

Birth place: Cornwall, New York

Birth name: David Howell Petraeus

Father: Sixtus Petraeus, Danish-born sea captain

Mother: Miriam (Howell) Petraeus

Marriage: Hollister “Holly” Knowlton (July 6, 1974-present)

Children: Anne and Stephen

Education: US Military Academy – West Point, B.S., 1974; Princeton University, M.P.A., International Relations, 1985; Princeton University, Ph.D., International Relations, 1987

Military: US Army, 1974-2011, four-star general

Other Facts

Growing up in Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York, friends nicknamed Petraeus “Peaches.”


1974 – Is commissioned as an infantry officer in the US Army upon graduation from West Point.

1975-1979 Platoon leader, adjutant, 1st Battalion, 509th Airborne Battalion Combat Team in Vicenza, Italy.

1979-1982 Commander, then aide de camp, 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized) at Fort Stewart, Georgia.

1985-1987 – Instructor, then Assistant Professor of Social Sciences, US Military Academy at West Point.

1987-1988 – Military Assistant to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe, NATO, Brussels, Belgium.

1989 Serves as aide to the Army’s chief of staff.

1991Is shot in the chest during a training exercise at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

1991-1993 – Commander, 3rd Battalion of the 187th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division.

1995-1997Commander, 1st Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division.

2000Breaks his pelvis during a parachute jump.

2000-2001 – Chief of staff, XVIII Airborne Corps., US Army, Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

2000Is promoted to brigadier (one star) general.

2001-2002 – Serves in Bosnia as the assistant chief of staff for military operations of the NATO Stabilization Force.

2002-2004 – Commanding general of the 101st Airborne Division US Army, Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

March 2003 – Leads troops into battle as commander of the 101st Airborne Division during the US-led invasion of Iraq.

June 2004-September 2005 – Commander of the Multinational Security Transition Command in Iraq.

October 2005-2007 – Commanding general of the Combined Arms Center, US Army, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

February 2007-September 2008 – Commander of all coalition forces in Iraq.

October 31, 2008-July 4, 2010 – Commander in Chief of Central Command.

October 6, 2009 – Announces that he was diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer and underwent two months of radiation treatment.

June 15, 2010 – Becomes “a little lightheaded” and faints while testifying at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

July 4, 2010-July 18, 2011 – Commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

April 28, 2011 – Nominated by President Barack Obama to replace Leon Panetta as CIA director.

June 30, 2011 – Unanimously confirmed by the US Senate as the next director of the CIA.

July 18, 2011 – Petraeus turns over command of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan to Gen. John R. Allen.

August 31, 2011 – Retires from the Army.

September 6, 2011 – Petraeus is sworn in as the new director of the CIA.

November 9, 2012 – Petraeus submits his resignation to President Obama, citing personal reasons and admits he had an extramarital affair.

March 27, 2013 – Publicly apologizes for his extramarital affair during a speech at the University of Southern California.

May 30, 2013 – It is announced that Petraeus has joined private equity firm KKR as the chairman of a new global institute.

July 1, 2013 – Joins the University of Southern California faculty as a Judge Widney Professor, “a title reserved for eminent individuals from the arts, sciences, professions, business, and community and national leadership.”

January 9, 2015 – A federal law enforcement official tells CNN that Justice Department prosecutors are recommending charges be filed against Petraeus for disclosure of classified information to his former lover Paula Broadwell who was working on a book with Petraeus at the time.

March 3, 2015 – Pleads guilty to one federal charge of removing and retaining classified information as part of a plea deal. According to court documents, Petraeus admitted removing several so-called black books – notebooks in which he kept classified and non-classified information from his tenure as the commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan – and giving them to Broadwell.

March 16, 2015 – White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest confirms that the National Security Council and the Obama administration have consulted with Petraeus on matters related to Iraq and ISIS.

April 23, 2015 – Petraeus is sentenced to serve two years probation and fined $100,000 for sharing classified information with his biographer and lover, Broadwell. Prosecutors agree to not send him to jail because the classified information was never released to the public or published in the biography.

September 22, 2015 – Petraeus speaks before the Senate Armed Services Committee regarding the US’s Middle East policy. He begins this, his first public hearing since his resignation, with a formal apology for the indiscretions that led to his resignation.

June 10, 2016 – Along with retired NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, announces that they are launching Veterans Coalition for Common Sense to encourage elected leaders to “do more to prevent gun tragedies.”

June 12, 2019 The University of Birmingham announces that Petraeus has accepted an honorary professorship in the Institute for Conflict, Cooperation and Security. The three-year position begins immediately.

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