Cliff Owen/AP

The Rise and Fall of David Petraeus -- TIMELINE

Former CIA director David Petraeus's decades-long and highly praised career took a definitive stumble in November when he resigned from his post...

How did former CIA director David Petraeus rise from army officer to chief spymaster? Click through to see the string of promotions that brought Petraeus to the top.

Quick facts:

  • David Petraeus was born Nov. 7, 1952, in Cornwall-on-Hudson, N.Y.
  • He graduated in the top 5 percent of his class at West Point in 1974, and married his wife, Holly, later that year.
  • His career in the military spanned four decades, ascending from second lieutenant to major general by 2003.

Last week, his career came to a sudden and unceremonious end when he announced his resignation via the letter below, obtained by CNN:

Yesterday afternoon, I went to the White House and asked the president to be allowed, for personal reasons, to resign from my position as D/CIA. After being married for over 37 years, I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair. Such behavior is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as ours. This afternoon, the president graciously accepted my resignation.

As I depart Langley, I want you to know that it has been the greatest of privileges to have served with you, the officers of our Nation’s Silent Service, a work force that is truly exceptional in every regard. Indeed, you did extraordinary work on a host of critical missions during my time as director, and I am deeply grateful to you for that.

Teddy Roosevelt once observed that life’s greatest gift is the opportunity to work hard at work worth doing. I will always treasure my opportunity to have done that with you and I will always regret the circumstances that brought that work with you to an end.

Thank you for your extraordinary service to our country, and best wishes for continued success in the important endeavors that lie ahead for our country and our Agency.

With admiration and appreciation,

David H. Petraeus

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