ART OF COMMAND

ART OF COMMAND: Rick Atkinson’s “In the Field” feature article “Keeping Faith and Learning the Art of Command” has an interesting profile of the commanding general of the 101st Airborne Division:

In the mid-1970s at Ranger School, perhaps the Army’s toughest physical and psychological challenge, three prizes were awarded to signify the honor graduates in each class; Petraeus won all three. In 1991, he survived being shot in the chest with an M-16 round fired at close range by a careless soldier — the thorasic surgeon at Vanderbilt University Medical Center was Bill Frist, now the Senate majority leader — and earned a Ph.D. in international relations from Princeton. In 2000, he survived the collapse of his parachute 60 feet up during his 88th free fall jump. The fall required reassembling his pelvis with a plate and long screws. An obsessive runner, Petraeus “somehow got faster after the accident,” says his aide, Capt. Dave Fivecoat.

Atkinson, by the way, is himself a West Point and Ranger School grad and Vietnam veteran.

UPDATE: Actually, he isn’t. He is the author of the superb book The Long Gray Line: The American Journey of West Point’s Class of 1966, which I read not long after its 1989 publication. It is not, however, autobiographical.

FILED UNDER: Iraq War
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.