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.

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.