Ret. General David Petraeus
Ret. Gen. David Petraeus, perhaps best known for leading the American military efforts in Iraq under Presdent George W. Bush, will provide the keynote address at the 6th Annual Navy Seal Foundation's "Chicago Evening of Tribute," a fundraising event that supports Naval Special Warfare (NSW) families.
Petraeus has received numerous military and civilian awards, including the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, which he has received four times, and the Bronze Star Medal for Valor. He has been ranked among the "25 Best Leaders" by U.S. News and World Report and was a runner-up for Time magazine’s "Person of the Year." His impressive military career included critical commands in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he served as director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
The "Chicago Evening of Tribute, planned for September 27, will be chaired by Sandi and Bill Strong.
“Sandi and I are honored to chair this special event for an exceptional organization," Bill Strong said, according to a press release. "General Petraeus is one of the most successful and decorated military leaders of our generation. We are confident that his presence will attract great enthusiasm in support of the Navy SEAL Foundation.”
According to the press release, U.S. Navy SEALs have faced many challenges in the past 16 years, including sustained and repeated combat deployments of up to 270 days per year. The Navy SEAL Foundation seeks to ease the burden on SEALs and their families through programs built around health and welfare, resiliency, and empowerment and education for family members.
“Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, there has been an unprecedented demand for our Special Operations forces,” Bill Strong said, according to the release. “Never before has so much been asked of so few, from so many, for so long. The Navy SEAL Foundation Chicago tribute event is a superb way for each of us to say thank you to the Naval Special Warfare community and their families for their service to our nation.”
Petraeus began his military career at the United States Military Academy. He is a graduate of both Ranger School and the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and holds a Ph.D. from Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He was also a fellow at Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service.
Petraeus' 37 years in the Army spanned assignments in Cold War Europe, Central America, Haiti, Bosnia, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan, among many other places. He served six consecutive commands as a general officer, distinguishing himself through his command during the Surge in Iraq, as well as his command in Afghanistan, during which coalition forces fought back the Taliban and prepared for the transition of control to Afghan forces and institutions. Petraeus’ military legacy also includes writing the U.S. Army’s counterinsurgency manual and an overhaul of the preparation U.S. Army leaders and their units receive prior to combat deployment.
Petraeus retired from the military and was confirmed as director of the CIA without opposition in the Senate. He oversaw the agency’s efforts to fight the global war on terror, pushed an overarching campaign plan to coordinate the agency’s work, and promoted investment in the agency’s human capital.
Petraeus is currently a partner at global investment firm KKR and chairman of the KKR Global Institute, as well as a Judge Widney professor at the University of Southern California. He also holds leadership positions in numerous global affairs, military and veterans organizations.