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Holly and David Petraeus wedding: the couple married in 1974, two months after he graduated West Point

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Holly Petraeus, wife of disgraced ex-CIA chief David Petraeus, can hardly imagine a life outside the military as she counts four generations of servicemen, “my great-grandfather, grandfather, father, husband, brother”.

Their son, Stephen Petraeus, 25, is in the army too.

Daughter Anne Petraeus, 29, teaches English overseas.

“I am privileged to have two extraordinary men — my husband and my father — in my life,” Holly Petraeus, now 59, said during an interview in 2009.

Her father, the late Army Gen. William A. Knowlton, was superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy when Holly met David Petraeus on a blind date in the fall of their senior year.

Holly Knowlton was a French and English major at Dickinson College. David Petraeus was a West Point cadet.

“He had no idea the blind date was with <<the boss’ daughter>> until it was too late to get out of it!” Holly Petraeus said.

Holly and David Petraeus married in 1974, two months after he graduated at the top of his class

Holly and David Petraeus married in 1974, two months after he graduated at the top of his class

Holly and David Petraeus married in 1974, two months after he graduated at the top of his class. For nearly 38 years, Holly Petraeus has been holding down the home front as her husband climbed the ranks.


Asked for adjectives that best describe her, Holly Petraeus supplies two: self-sufficient and reliable.

“I’ve never lived more than four years in one place,” she said.

Holly Petraeus has moved many times and lived multiple times in Washington, but never gets rid of books. She favors biographies. She has been reading about Islam and the Middle East, but has not been to Iraq.