“Since 1974, General Petraeus has dedicated his life to the United States Army, and he is currently serving our country by leading our forces in the War on Terror,” says Jim Breen, the chairman of the Military Affairs Committee of the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. “This award recognizes him for his leadership and over 34 years of service to our country.”
A Distinguished Graduate of the U. S. Military Academy in 1974, General Petraeus recently was selected to command the United States Central Command after serving as the Commanding General, Multi-National Force-Iraq from February 2007 to September 2008. In previous tours in Iraq, he commanded the Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq and the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault).
In selecting a Great American Patriot Award winner, the Military Affairs Committee of the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl considers numerous criteria. The candidate must be of high moral fiber and good character, having spent his or her career serving the common good of the United States. He or she will have gone beyond the call of duty to serve and protect his or her country, with proven dedication and loyalty in upholding the Constitution and the laws of the nation. Finally, the Great American Patriot Award winner will have worked tirelessly to make the U.S. a better and safer place for all its citizens.
“Armed Forces Insurance is honored to play a part in recognizing the contributions of a dedicated and distinguished Soldier,” said Retired Colonel Tom Dials, president and chairman of Armed Forces Insurance. “General Dave Petraeus epitomizes the professionalism and spirit of selfless service that AFI was founded to foster and protect over 120 years ago.”
General Petraeus will be honored by Armed Forces Insurance during half-time of the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl game on December 31, which will feature teams from Conference USA and the Mountain West Conference. Prior to the 11 a.m. (CST) kickoff at Amon G. Carter Stadium, General Petraeus will conduct the coin toss between the two teams, along with leading an induction ceremony for new recruits.
Gordon England, the Deputy Secretary of Defense for the United States, received the first Great American Patriot Award at the half-time of the 2006 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. Fort Worth-resident Preston “Pete” Geren, the Secretary of the Army, was honored at the 2007 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl.
In addition to the commands he held in Iraq, General Petraeus also during his career commanded: a mechanized infantry company in the 24th Infantry Division, an air assault infantry battalion in the 101st Airborne Division, and an airborne infantry brigade in the 82d Airborne Division, as well as the U.S. Army’s Combined Arms Center, the organization that oversees 18 military schools and training centers throughout the United States. His staff assignments included: Executive Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; service as a staff officer responsible for operations, plans, and training at battalion, brigade, and division levels; and service in a similar capacity for the UN Force in Haiti and the NATO Stabilization Force in Bosnia.
General Petraeus earned M.P.A. (1985) and Ph.D. (1987) degrees in International Relations from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, and he later completed a Fellowship at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service. He also taught international relations and economics as an assistant professor in the Department of Social Sciences at the US Military Academy.
In addition to spending nearly 4 years in Iraq, General Petraeus also served in military operations in Haiti, Bosnia, and Kuwait. His awards and decorations include: two Defense Distinguished Service Medals, two Army Distinguished Service Medals, two Defense Superior Service Medals, three Legion of Merit Medals, the Bronze Star Medal with “V” device, the Department of State Superior Honor Award, the French Legion d’Honneur, the NATO Meritorious Service Medal, and the gold award of the Iraqi Order of the Date Palm. He has also earned the master parachutist badge, the air assault badge, the combat action badge, and the Ranger tab, as well as French, British, and German jump wings. In 2007, General Petraeus was a runner-up for Time magazine’s Person of the Year. He has also been named one of US News and World Report’s Top 25 American Leaders, one of Foreign Policy magazine’s Top 100 Public Intellectuals, and one of Esquire magazine’s 75 Most Important People of the 21st Century.