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David Petraeus ( 1952 - )  Category ( Military_Persons ) [suggest a correction]

David PetraeusDavid Petraeus, who would grow up to become a United States four-star Army general, was born to a couple who met as a result of World War II. His father, Sixtus Petraeus, was a sea captain from the Netherlands. As World War II heated up, he took advantage of his mobile profession by immigrating to the United States. There he met Miriam Howell, a librarian. The couple married and settled in Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York.

Their son, David, was born there in 1952, later graduating from Cornwall Central High School. The nickname, "Peaches," was bestowed upon young Petraeus, since many in his hometown had trouble pronouncing his last name. Petraeus was an excellent student, and upon graduation received an appointment to enroll at the United States Military Academy, at West Point, New York. He continued to excel, serving as a cadet captain and cited for distinction in academics. He graduated with the Class of 1974, ranking in the top five percent. He married Holly Knowlton within weeks of his graduation. She was the daughter of Army General William A. Knowlton, who was the superintendent of West Point during Petraeus' tenure. The couple have two children, Anne and Stephen.

Despite the normalcy of home and family life, Petraeus remained highly ambitious. He attended the United States Army Command and General Staff College, where he earned the General George C. Marshall Award as the highest achieving student. Later, he returned to the academic world and earned a Master's of public administration, as well as a Ph.D. in international relations from Princeton University. During this period he taught courses at West Point, and was awarded a fellowship at Georgetown University. In 1995 he left academia to serve as the Chief of Operations for United Nation's forces in Haiti. Over the past ten years he was appointed to successively more significant commands. As a brigadier general, in 2001-2002, he spent ten months in Bosnia and Herzegovina helping to lead Operation Joint Forge. More promotions followed, including Lieutenant General, in 2004, and General, in 2007. In 2004, he was named the first commander of the Multi-National Security Transition Command Iraq. This command was responsible for strengthening Iraq's own military force, as well as their police, and other security forces.

In 2008, Petraeus was nominated to command U.S. Central Command by President George W. Bush. Such a position required confirmation by the U.S. Senate. Petraeus was confirmed, and took command in July 2010. In addition to numerous military medals and awards, Petraeus was named "Public Intellectual of the Year" by Prospect magazine. In 2007, Time magazine included Petraeus in their list of the 100 most influential leaders and revolutionaries of the year. He was also a runner-up for the Time Person of the Year in 2007.

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